At long last, skateboarding and surfing have been added to the roster of Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympic events and we’re amped! Skateboarding will make it’s debut with four events, park and street for men and women competitors. While surfing has also enjoyed a long history of competition, the introduction to the Olympics will bring a new audience to the sought-after tournament.
Since this week was International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting just some of the inspirational stories of Skateboarding and Surfing athletes on their way to making history in the longest-running competitive games on the planet.
The 21-year-old got international attention with her 1st prize at the Asian Games in 2018. She’s the first Filipino to compete on global skateboarding events like Street League Skateboarding in London, UK and the X Games, Minneapolis.
"I still can't imagine representing my country and raising the Philippine flag, especially at the Olympics," Didal told Tokyo 2020.
Growing up on the streets of south-eastern Brazil, Pamela is on the road to Tokyo 2020 and currently World number 1 in Olympic rankings.
“When I was a kid watching even small contests, I wanted to be part of it – so now skateboarding is in the Olympics you will get so many young girls watching it and dreaming of being in the Olympics when they are older and working so hard to get there," Pamela Rosa told Olympic.org
Isadora Rodrigues Pacheco
In the Top 10 in Park, Isadora started competing at age 9 and is yet another incredible talent heading to the Olympics.
Leah was named one of Forbes Most Powerful Women in International Sports and is on Brazil’s first-ever Olympic Skateboarding team.
Women In Surf
Surfing is another of the five new sports aimed at bringing a more youthful and vibrant culture to the Olympic program.
In a 2020 book by Lauren Hill (not the badass singer), ‘She Surf’ is a celebratory look at women’s surf culture and history of their vital place in the sport. Full of inspirational photography, stories, and profiles on athletes like Emi Koch, environmentalist activist Belinda Baggs, and 7x World Champion Steph Gilmore.
“As girls are given the opportunity and support to engage with the sport, and accessibility to boards and beaches increases, we will make up for lost decades in getting back to surfing’s legacy of inclusivity. As we work to catch up — not to men’s surfing — but to what our own minds, hearts, and bodies are capable of and long for in the water, we are witnessing the depth and diversity of a truly global women’s surf culture.”- Lauren Hill, ‘She Surf’ Foreword
Isabella is the 2016 World Junior champion, representing Australia. Take a look at her preparation for last year’s Championship tour.
Carissa became the youngest World champion, ever at just 18 and has gone on to win four world titles.
From Japan, Yumeji is the 2019 World Junior Champion and at just 19 is inspiring a new generation of Surfers.
Caroline won the season opener in Australia at just 17 years old while working on her high school diploma. In a 2020 Sports Illustrated interview, Marks said “My goal as a surfer, especially as a female surfer…is to be that girl that pushed the progression of women's surfing. Carissa Moore, Lisa Anderson, Stephanie Gilmore—those are the girls who pushed the sport before me. And I want to be the next generation that's leading the way to surfing bigger waves and getting barreled more, and doing airs ... That’s my goal every day when I go surfing: to constantly push myself.”
The women street skateboarding competitions will start on 26 July 2021. Women's park will take place on 4 August at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. The surfing schedule will start on Sunday 25th July, closing on Sunday 1st August and will be held at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, Japan.
We’re stoked to watch and can’t wait to see the boundaries that these incredible women are pushing in their sport, and beyond. Sports have always been a common ground for people of all ages, genders, skills, and backgrounds to feel empowered while watching or playing and we love that the Olympics have finally recognized a few more to their competition.
Whatever the sport, there’s nothing better than uniting, feeling the moment, and celebrating someone at the top of their game.