New friends, put to the test: skateboarding at Tokyo 2020 Part 2

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. akin to (something) / əˈkɪn too / (adj.) – having similar or related qualities

    His paintings are akin to those you see in major museums. He’s really good!

  2. fluid / ˈflu ɪd / (adj.) – smooth and graceful

    She earned high points from the judges because of her fluid dance steps.

  3. subjective / səbˈdʒɛk tɪv / (adj.) – based on one’s opinions, thoughts, and feelings, not on facts

    The definition of beauty is very subjective because we all have different ideas of what is beautiful.

  4. scrutinize / ˈskrut nˌaɪz / (v.) – to pay great attention to something and examine it closely

    Her business proposal was carefully scrutinized by the potential investors.

  5. stunt / stʌnt / (n.) – a dangerous or difficult action that requires great skill

    The actor didn’t do any of his own stunts.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

With high-adrenaline acrobatics akin to those seen on the snow, skateboarding promises to wow and hook both existing and untapped Olympic audiences.

For its Olympic debut, skateboarding has a custom-built park on the shores of Tokyo Bay to play with.

The 40 men and 40 women will be chasing medals in two events — park, where they skate in a bowl, and street, where they navigate stairs, rails, curbs and other urban furniture. The street competitions are in the first week, on July 25 and 26. The park events round out week two, on Aug. 4 and 5.

Because skateboarding is so fluid and inventive, with hundreds of tricks, variants and possibilities to choose from, judging is less codified and more subjective than other sports. Judges will scrutinize the difficulty and execution of tricks and runs, and how skaters use and navigate obstacles. Originality and variety will earn more points.

The Tokyo Olympics could be a first step toward global fame for a skateboarder.

With no-fear stunts and polished messaging that age is irrelevant, the half-Japanese Brown is already a very visible 12-year-old, with a rich portfolio of sponsors and an array of social media accounts.

At the other end of the unusually broad age spectrum at the inaugural Olympic skateboarding competition will be Dallas Oberholtzer. The 46-year-old hails from South Africa, where he works on efforts to introduce young South Africans to the sport. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Because the sport is so fluid and inventive, judging for skateboarding is more subjective than many other sports. How do you feel about this (ex. it makes sense, it seems unfair)? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think it’s easy to understand the scoring for sports that have judges (ex. gymnastics, ice skating)? Have you ever felt that a judge’s score was unfair? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Skaters in the Tokyo Olympics ranged from 12 to 46 years old. Do you think it’s fair for athletes with more than a 30-year age difference to compete against each other? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Several skaters at the Tokyo Olympics were 12 years old, but the minimum age for gymnasts was 16 and the minimum age for boxers was 18. Do you think it’s fair for the minimum age to be so different from sport to sport? Do you feel children younger than 12 should be allowed to compete in the Olympics if they’re skilled enough? Why or why not? Discuss.