The 2012 Summer Olympics concluded this week. Over the past 15 days, I have pretty much been glued to my TV watching the best of the best compete for the most coveted athletic prize, an Olympic Gold. I saw some incredible wins. And, I also saw some unbelievable sacrifices, injuries, and upsets.
I found myself wondering about the possibility of snowskating ever becoming a part of the greatest sporting spectacle on earth. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been increasingly open to allowing extreme sports into the Olympics following Snowboarding‘s huge success and as demonstrated by BMX’s recent induction into the Games. So, I suppose, there is a possibility of Snowskating emerging onto the Olympic scene in the future.
But, something about the idea doesn’t sit quite right with me. Olympians sacrifice so much in order to win. They put their lives on hold, suffer frequent and serious injuries, and define themselves by their status within their sport. Because so much of their identity rides on them winning, they become completely undone when they lose. The pressure even becomes too much for some of the greatest winners; think of Michael Phelps stepping away from his sport in his prime. Maybe the love of the sport for these people has been eclipsed by their love of winning.
For me, snowskating is my escape. It is where I go to relax and have fun. I escape from the reality of my sacrifices in snowskating. It enhances my life instead of defining it. Snowskating isn’t so much “sport” as recreation, lifestyle, and culture. I see the identity of surfing and perhaps skateboarding struggling in the same way. Snowskating, like other “boardsports,” transcends sportdom into something entirely un-demanding, intensely rewarding, and ultimately beautiful.
So, if it takes skipping Rio in 2016 in order to keep snowskating lighthearted and pure, so be it.