How skateboarding made it to the Olympics : an institutional perspective / Mikhail Batuev, Leigh Robinson,

Robinson, Leigh | Batuev, Mikhail

Utilizing new institutionalism and resource-dependency theory this paper examines the organisational context within which skateboarding has developed and is continuing to develop. As a radical lifestyle activity, many within the sport of skateboarding have sought to distance themselves from the institutionalized competitive structure exemplified by the modern Olympic Games, despite a steady growth in competitive skateboarding within increasingly formal structures. The aim of this paper is to explore how the sport has operationally evolved and how, as a major youth sport, Olympic inclusion has impacted on its organisational arrangements. Data were collected through a series of semi-structured interviews and supplemented by selected secondary sources including social media analysis, sport regulations and policy statements. The conclusions of the research are: 1) unlike many other sports, skateboarding has always functioned as a network which includes event organizers, media companies, and equipment producers, with governing bodies playing a more peripheral role; 2) there was a strong lobby from elite skateboarders in support of inclusion in the Olympics although only on skateboarders terms; 3) interest from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which eventually led to the inclusion of skateboarding in the 2020 Olympic Games, has affected the organisational evolution of skateboarding over the last decade and has stressed issues of organisational legitimacy in this sport.

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