Progress – or is it a mockery?

PUBLISHED: 13:43 15 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:51 28 May 2010

With the row raging about the ever-escalating cost of staging the London Olympics in 2012 and the unseemly bitching about the offbeat logo for the games, one important development is in danger of being overlooked. The acceptance of skateboarding as an Oly

With the row raging about the ever-escalating cost of staging the London Olympics in 2012 and the unseemly bitching about the offbeat logo for the games, one important development is in danger of being overlooked.

The acceptance of skateboarding as an Olympic sport.

It could well be part of the 2012 programme. What a coup for London - introducing skateboarding to the hallowed Olympic agenda.

Officially skateboarding is not a sport . . . yet.

Behind-the-scenes moves are, apparently, being orchestrated so that a formal proposal can go soon before the International Olympic Committee.

And it looks a bit like a done deal. At least the skateboard lobby will be pushing against an open door, because BMX cycling is already included in the programme for next year's Olympics in Bejing.

I know there are many people like me - traditionalists I suppose - who are concerned about the erosion of the Olympic ideal and the diminution of respect for the serious athletes by the addition to the games of what I have heard referred to, quaintly but accurately, as tiddly-wink sports.

I am all for progress. But to be worth anything at all progress must embody improvement.

Skateboarding and BMX cycling will not improve the Olympics.

I know skateboarding is popular among the young; and the world must be developed and shaped for the young and for tomorrow.

But I have to say that if youngsters' interests are to be catered for it is a pity a few years ago no-one thought to elevate conkers to Olympic status.

I recall playing conkers. And the contests demanded a lot of planning, skill and endurance. But the world was more rigid then, and pandering to populism was not the rage it is today.

Skateboarding is undeniably skilful and physically demanding. So, it must be said, are many circus acts. So is dancing.

I'm sure I am not the only one to have noted that both circus and dancing have already been embraced, to a degree, by the Olympic movement. Just check on ice skating, swimming and gymnastics.

Even so, that does not mean we should allow this four-yearly sporting spectacle to degenerate with the addition of such 'sports' as plate spinning, juggling, knife throwing, the hokey-cokey or line dancing. Or does it?


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