Olympic slalom Redux.

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John Gilmour
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Olympic slalom Redux.

Post by John Gilmour » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:47 pm

Well after 1993 test in the Jeaux Preneens d'Aventure games , here we are again, perhaps it ha single shot for a true Olympic medal in Japan. The IOC is not required to maintain skateboarding Or the other 4 proposed sports after this games,

So it might be a single shot deal at the only Televised chance to win an Olympic medal in front of an audience of millions.

I have no idea if slalom or downhill were considered. Who has more info?
One good turn deserves another
john gilmour

Jani Soderhall
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Re: Olympic slalom Redux.

Post by Jani Soderhall » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:32 pm

Corky and I know a lot, but still not much, about the current plans for skateboarding in the Olympics. We are both board members of the World Skateboarding Federation (http://www.worldskateboardingfederation.org/). The ISSA took the decision to adhere to WSF rather than one of the other two federations "representing" skateboarding: ISF and FIRS. The main reason to choose WSF ws that WSF knows and cares about all disciplines of skateboarding.

The IOC then told skateboarding that you will have to get organized if you want to take part. An initiative was started by IOC to get the three to work together, each contributing with 1 representative and then they added 1 skater representative. No news have yet come out of this group, and from what we know the group shown difficulties working together.

For the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, only two disciplines have been selected: Park and Street. That was pretty much decided before hand. We didn't really have a choice to influence that. We still tried. Corky wrote a proposal to include slalom, Koma (Cyril Harnay, pres of IDF) wrote a proposal to include downhill. Even if we knew they would not be considered, we wanted to submit them, and we wanted them to know there's more to skateboarding than park and street.

As IOC dedided to include skateboarding in Tokyo, they gave the responsibility to FIRS, because FIRS was already a recognized organisation, although with no Olympic sports. Thus the "ownership" of skateboarding was given to a Roller Skate federation with little or no knowledge about skateboarding. However they have one front figure: Titus Dittman who is respected within our circuits.

Our current belief is that:

- FIRS will be officially responsible for the 2020 event and assure that anti-doping measures are put in place
- ISF will run the actual 2020 event
- WSF will continue to build an international organization for all countries and all disciplines


At first it may look disappointing for WSF, but remember that there is no money at all flowing from IOC to either FIRS or ISF, nothing that will help them build their organization, thus none of them will actually work for skateboarding more than what is required to do the Olympic event.

The WSF goal is long-term: build an organization that governs skateboarding, built from the bottom up. Exactly how that is going to happen nobody knows, but the ambition is there. The ISSA, IDF and other discipline organization have an important role, because we actually run our sports on the international level. The national federations are also very important, maybe even more so, than us, as they run it on a local national level, and they're our best chance of building the foundations needed. With the IOC recognizing skateboarding, more money may be attributed to the national federations.

I'll keep it at that for now. Let's keep this topic going. It's a long road ahead and we need to think about the best strategy for our disciplines to fit into the scheme.

Announcement
However, a short-term goal of the ISSA just NOW is to produce a high quality slalom video presenting slalom racing of 2-3 minutes. It's a project that Corky and I are just about to start. If you have the skills to help out, let us hear from you! It's urgent, because we need to get a draft version up already in October. We should be able to include some professional shots from Riga and Policka this summer as both had crews on site.

/Jani

John Gilmour
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Re: Olympic slalom Redux.

Post by John Gilmour » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:40 pm

Of course I can do what is needed to help. Brad from ABEC 11 lives about 40 feet from me and we have access to ABEC 11s $450,000 camera arsenal as well as California's legendary video editing . And with digital as it is , we can collaborate globally , at low to zero cost to produce a compelling video. I also know Mr. Solot a 11 time academy award winner for Computer graphics, who has done all the graphics for all the Super Bowl's in the last two decades, he stumbled upon Paul Price, Floyd Reid and I on my birthday, five years ago when I set a light up slalom course in Venice California Directly in front of Mr. Solot's house. He can make something look absolutely out of this world – and it will bear a brand like familiarity to current top produced sports in terms graphics content. All I have to do is take his 9 kids slaloming. We are already good friends.


Certainly a slalom video to present to the IOC has been long overdue. I do think the focus should not be the typical shots of head to head racing, that are typical of our current slalom videos ( and are no longer compelling ) , but more shots of what makes it interesting from the standpoint that slalom racers can look like they do the impossible as athletes.

In fact it should be embraced that the core of skateboarding has been for the past 40+ years the art of doing the impossible, and that separates us from basketball, soccer etc.

That accepting the "Mission of doing the impossible " a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE is the core mindset of the skateboard athlete.

For some it might be the ability to do a unique trick. And from a modern day skateboarders aspect, many skaters have been able to do what was thought of as completely impossible just years ago. Our top women vert skaters for instance would easily beat all of the dogtown skaters today. Even a few skaters under the age of 10 could easily best our top skaters of the 1970's.

But this does not just pertain to vert skating or street. Incrementally downhill has pushed its limits not only in speed but in technical assaults of hills and the ability to handle hills that technically would have been discarded as "unrideable" without today's current , techniques, equipment, and experience. Downhill is knocking on the doors of 90mph, and though it may seem impossible right now, 100mph is just around the corner, literally, because it may require a skater to negotiate a nearly impossible corner at 85+ to get over that last ridge enabling 100mph.

Slalom also pushes its limits to do what is impossible. Though currently the pro courses do not reflect what appears to be impossible in terms of anything but "cone processing at speed" not unlike the conveyor belt of a mechanical cannery or sewing machine. You and I have both seen slalom and the formerly possible slalom positions at speed that almost look like high speed contortion.

This as well as course strategy would make slalom a compelling discipline to watch. The "YOU GOTTA SEE THIS" moment that makes a person grab a group of viewers, previously disengaged from the TV and makes them watch and share an incredible moment...well in part that is what makes up what I see as the defining Olympic moments that give the Olympics emotional value lasting decades, that go well beyond typical organized sporting events. We can all picture several of these Olympic moments, and thanks to high speed photography, smaller cameras, and the ability to prefocus those cameras at strategic places on the slalom course in advance – we can capture these moments and convey them to the audience.

With split screen photography in conjunction with the ability to overlay previously shot images of different athletes we can show how each athlete can push the limit a little further – pushing us more towards achieving what was formerly impossible.

And part of this ability to execute this is the fixed slalom course,- a course whose surface does not degrade with use similar to snow sports. A course where hair splitting precision is not an accident but regularly expected.

For most children, the introduction of skateboarding in time coincides quite closely to their 10th grade geometry classes, enabling them to apply geometry in real life whereas it otherwise it might not be possible. Certainly the lessons of geometry are a lot more easy to comprehend, change, and altered to fit the course or environment then with ....say bicycling which is also very influenced by geometry but is not easily changed on the fly by the consumer.

And...

Slalom racers -
Are already a very colorful bunch.

It's a story MADE for TV. That sort of unbelievable reality TV that nearly justifies reality TV. I want to see Mig racing for Canada against Harms from the USA. I want to see McLaren racing against the oldest slalomer. I want to see all the different styles and stories of the racers. There is a lot of story to tell.

I remember being in Latvia at Janis Kusmins celebration for winning a world title, one of the few for Latvia, and how it impacted the people at the party. Every nation has a shot at this.

To not have slalom represented would be a loss. It's size makes it easy to manage as compare to downhill or mega ramp and to some people who have not seen slalom it offers a new look , as for instance compared to half pipe where everyone world wide has witnessed some half pipe event on TV OR IN PERSON.

TO see a slalom racer navigate a technical course requiring extreme angulation and body extension at speed broken down to slow-mo at 240 frames per second' to see a slalomer do a 4 wheel drift to make a gate at 25 mph, to see a slalomer hang his hips to the inside of a Gilmourian curve and then go a quick transfer laterally to throw himself where he needs to be with the curve reversing... That is some crazy stuff. And pre packaged micro video cameras are ubiquitous . Follow me drones have gotten even better. Skilled drone operators could produce camera pan angles that look super cool...and get close enough to engage the athletes because the drone operators know where the course boundaries are- so they can get right into the action - something that really isn't very manageable with a great number of other sports with projectiles like ball sports. In skateboarding we are the projectile. And in slalom that projectile follows a pre-defined course that is manageable . This is not so for halfpipe, downhill, street..etc... We know within a centimeter where the athlete is going to pass. And that makes for some incredible film possibilities.

The story of trying to practice slalom , to claim a hill, often illegally , also makes for an interesting story. I for instance now live in an area in California where skateboarding down steeper hills is banned. Before that I only has to risk having my cones confiscated, or being told to move. But in the past 2 months I have been pulled over for skating in Califonia. Luckily "Andy Kessler" ( a former skate rival of mine from the 1970's who died of a hornet sting a few years back ) did not have any I.D. on him ;) , I can't use my real name each time I am stopped or it would show up in the police blotters. I can only practice locally at night with lit up slalom cones - and do it close to my house for a few runs before darting back inside. Because in California they track your car. So I slalom without a car locally.

My story about trying to slalom and being chased off, is not uncommon, sadly it's part of the core of nearly all of skateboarding, except for perhaps high jump and flatland freestyle, and ironically skateparks and street which now ignited areas for skateboarding to be used.

Slalom is full of damn good stories , and it would make for excellent OLYMPIC TV and my story couldn't possibly be the best out there.
One good turn deserves another
john gilmour

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