ESPN has recently published an article explaining their reasoning behind canceling women’s vert from X-Games. Read it here.
ESPN stated that women’s vert has failed to meet the criteria necessary to remain an X-Games event which consists of:”a solid year-round infrastructure, a growing participant base, an established annual competition schedule, rising youth talent pools, ample access to courses,” and “low barriers of entry into the sport.”
Although their reasoning has truth behind it, there are many loopholes in ESPN’s analysis.
“‘I think it’s a shame,’ vert skateboarding icon Tony Hawk texted about the decision to drop women’s vert skating, ‘especially with the amount of interest in women’s skating and new talent lately.'”
Tony Hawk’s statement disproves ESPN’s belief that women’s vert fails to meet the criteria of the existence of “rising youth talent pools.”
An example of the young talent Hawk was referring to:
Or nine-year-old Alana Smith:
Let’s explore the rest of the criteria necessary to be an X-Games event-
2.”ample access to courses”
A. I do admit that there are not enough vert ramps outside of San Diego. However, women have just as much access to vert ramps as men do. Any yet, the insufficient number of vert ramps has not affected the men’s contest.
B. There is a slow, but existing growth in the number of vert ramps outside of SD. However, elimination of vert events will only impede further progress.
C. If this is part of their reasoning, then why take out women’s park as well? Parks/bowls/pools are significantly more accessible than vert ramps. Last year they allowed the women to at least skate a demo in the park course- with the intent of turning it into an event in upcoming X-Games. And yet they have backtracked to exclude women’s transition skating completely.
4.”a growing participant base” –
A. See Hawk’s previous statement.
B. There has been a definite surge in the amount of young girls who skate street, vert, park and all of the above. For example: there were about 40 women competing in the Girls Combi Classic- which is more than double that of the preceding year’s Protec Pool Party- (once again, why exclude women’s park?).
C. ESPN’s move has a lot of potential to significantly inhibit further growth of the participant base. I started skating after I saw the women’s vert demo at the 2002 X-Games in Philadelphia. Lyn-z said it best: ” This, unfortunately, is going to end the growth for women’s vert skating as we know it.”
2. “low barriers of entry into the sport ”
A. True, there are very few, if any technical “barriers” or structures through which women and girls can work their way into professional women’s vert skating- this is fed predominantly by reasons 2 & 5.
B. I think the biggest “barrier” to entry now is that all of the vert events have been eliminated…
5. “a solid year-round infrastructure” & “an established annual competition schedule”
A. Completely true. But rather than stand by us as we hope and wait for the one competition we do have, they have eliminated the last remaining women’s vert event.
B. Once again- what about park? There’s a year-round World Cup series for bowl riding, so why not AT LEAST let us skate the giant, fun bowl you build for park?
Please sign this petition in protest of ESPN’s decision: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-excluding-women-from-the-x-games
And “like” this Facebook page
Time to start our own series of vert and bowl events that will force ESPN to re-evaluate our inclusion in next year’s X-Games.