This month, the International Olympic Committee announced the long anticipated and well deserved addition of men’s and women’s half pipe and women’s ski jumping. Congratulations are in order. Congratulations to these athletes and congratulations to Utah as a state. Utah is a great home to these athletes, and we as a state have provided them with the platform that they have needed to grow their sport and gain the attention of the Olympic Committee. Again, Congratulations are in order for the athletes, their future, but mostly congratulations to Utah.
I love the winter season here in Utah and find any way to be in the snow in any snow sport. I am an avid skier, snowboarder and snow kiter. Utah snow is unlike any other snow in the world, and the world comes to our mountains to soak up our amazing white powder ocean.
While I am thrilled for my friends and the future of ski half pipe and women’s ski jumping; I prefer the summer action sports and Olympics more and here is why: anyone can participate. Fact: 1. winter sports are exclusive. To be at the top of the winter sports community, one needs to live in a winter country or state. 2. You need money. Until the sponsors come in, assuming you can get one, you need to pay for equipment, lift tickets and special clothing.
You don’t need anything special or a resort to ride a skateboard, ride a bmx bike, run track and field or even play soccer. While T Squared focuses mainly on action sports, it’s hard not to recognize that the growing trend in the community is in sports across the world that anyone of any ethnic background, economic status and where they live in the world participate more in sports that they can be successful in their front yard. Summer actions sports grow faster globally than winter sports. And it shows in the athletes we see participate and the crowds at the events.
While many of you may not agree with me that Winter Sports are exclusive, look at the statistics. In the Olympics, the top 5 countries with the most medals in the games are the USA, Canada, Russia, Norway and Sweden. Is it any coincidence that each of these five countries are also in the top 15 of the world’s richest countries? No. And while not everyone in these countries is well off financially, the money exists for more people to participate in these winter sports. These are the facts, it’s hard to deny the correlation.
No matter where you are, anyone can pick up a skateboard and ride. While many use it for sport, some use it as transportation. For one gas tank fill up in your car, you can purchase a skateboard and be mobile. It’s just fact. And while it may not be as convenient as a car, sometimes it’s the best and only available option to some.
Look at the country parody in the summer Olympics, summer Dew Tour and X Games. There is more countries represented in the athletes and at the top of the podium. Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, but he hails from a poor country. Skateboarding is a worldwide community, and the best of the best come from the USA, Brazil and other South American countries, Europe, Canada and even Australia.
These are just two small examples, but the truth of the matter is, success in sports is found globally in events that are cultured in the front yard, in parks by the home, and the streets. This is why I love these sports. We need to continue building our community in the action sports world, and summer sports do it better than the winter sports. I spend a lot of time around each genre of sport and the summer community family is closer, more open to new ideas and less stuffy. The winter community should take a long look at themselves and try a little harder to be summer.