"Nebraska, We Have a Problem!"

How's it going, just read the "Nebraska we have a problem" story on your site and wanted to let you know what the "vert dawgs" that you were referring to really think about skateboarding in the Olympics. We, just like you and Dave Carnie and everyone else in skateboarding, are appalled at the thought of skateboarding in the Olympics and we know how evil the IOC and USOC are and have heard all of the horror stories from snowboarders and everyone else. That being said ever since we heard that a roller skating organization was designated as the governing body by the IOC we wanted to make sure that someway, somehow the skaters would have a voice. We don't (as UPSA) necessarily want to be an organizing body or a sanctioning body we just want to have a voice. It's one of those things where if it's going to happen it's going to happen and all you can hope for is that the skaters and people that do know what's up could help make something like that be a positive thing and maybe even help grow skateboarding rather than butcher it like I'm sure these fools in Nebraska would do. Thanks, I really enjoyed the article as well as the rest of the site.
-Neal Hendrix

Good article. I hope skateboarders take the time to read and understand it. In my opinion UPSA's involvement with rollersports is a negative. If UPSA wanted to keep skateboarding under skateboarders they would support World Cup Skateboarding and work with the Bostick's to keep skateboarding away from Rollersports. Here is my reasoning. Rollersports are the guys who have roller skating rinks. For the last 40 years they have been trying to get their sport (dancing roller skating) into the Olympics. That is why they have Olympic connections. While they have been tending to the exciting business of roller skating the skateboarders saw their sport grow into something huge (80's), then loose all their insurance which resulted in all their skateparks being shut down... well all except Kona Skatepark. Kona was owned by the Ramos's and they self insured and relied on waivers. So skateboarders started to skate in the streets. Cities made laws to make it illegal and they still did it. They formed their own magazines and companies to fund skateboarding and keep it alive and growing. Skateboarders did it all and they did it without the help of the government. In 1996 I could only find 3 public skateparks and a few private parks. Insurance was still a big issue but there was an estimated 6 million skateboarders in the USA, several magazines, a trade show, thousands of retail skateshops and a governing body, World Cup Skateboarding, that was holding events all over the world.
      Roller skating was on a downturn and gee... they did not have any industry to call their own. Roller hockey and aggressive inline were taking off with no help from roller skating. SPAUSA was just forming (96) to help the skaters and bmx'ers in Venice & Santa Monica. By 1999 we were helping kids all over the world with skateparks and finally got the courage to set up an insurance program. It was a very scary thing to do and also a not very exciting business. By 2000 we were able to take pads off our coverage, another scary move but it actually ended up with our injury rate being cut in half. Once again the skaters proved to be experts in governing their own sport.
      Mid 2000 the Wall Street Journal did a profile of me and I talked about the possibility of the insurance being a profitable arm of the organization. All of a sudden the Roller-Skating Federation changed their name to Rollersports and went after everything, "feet on wheels" is what they said and they took over roller hockey, inline, scooters and skateboarding. Now Rollersports says they can provide a governing body and insurance. Rollersports could NOT govern or grow their own sport effectively but UPSA thinks they would make a dandy partner for skateboarders....?????? How so???? Or maybe it is the lure of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds that will become available. Did UPSA form just for this purpose?
      I got involved to help my son and his friends. I stayed in because I like the people and the work. SPAUSA supports World Cup Skateboarding as the governing body. Don Bostik was a pro skateboarder and World Cup Skateboarding has kept competitive skateboarding alive and growing for the last 10 years. To us it is a no brainer. Whatever happens, the next few years will be very interesting. Many thanks to Dave Carne and Clarkie for shedding some light on the governing body situation. Cheers.
-Heidi Lemmon, SPAUSA

Hey Ey Clarkie - Greetings again from sunny South Africa:) Just thought I'd give my 2 cents. 1st-much respect on the labour alert thing. Pop culture today seems to be moving faster and faster and more and more things seem to be getting ignored. 2nd-(the main feature) you don't know how refreshing it is to hear your take on the Olympics thing! Like I said, I am not a skater and have no aspirations to pretend to be one and even though I recognize all athletes and their sports and their need to be recognized, I wondered about the validity of the Olympic claim. I mean, recognition is one thing but it seems that to skate is a lifestyle and not some other pursuit. Yes, people make money and they want to have endorsements and stuff but as an outsider, it just seems that having it as an Olympic sport will not necessarily enhance the lifestyle. After awhile, it might just be one of those things. Anyway, lemme shurrup:) thanks for the good work. As always, will be thinkin of all you northern hemispherics freezing your butts off as we enjoy braais (that's barbecues to you) and sunny African skies:) hehe later.
- Nutball

An attempt to clarify what I feel has been mis-represented... UPSA, as Neal Hendrix writes, is not committed to the Olympics nor becoming an "organizing body" representing skateboarding to the IOC or the USOC. My emails, phone conversations, and personal face to face conversations, have clearly stated UPSA's interest, and my own personal interest, is that "skateboarding" and "skateboarders" be part of any and all decisions determining when and how and if skateboarding should could or would be part of the Olympics. My recommendation since 2001 has been consistent--"we" cannot sit back and wait for others to decide. We have to include ourselves in the process. Otherwise, from Beijing, in 2008, there will be padded, spandex-outfitted "skateboarders" standing on the podium with a bouquet of flowers, throwing kisses to the crowd, and then bending to stretch out their neck for their Olympic medals. I believe the November 2003 UPSA meeting in Pomona helped provide some awareness to the complexities surrounding the Olympic issue, but, again, UPSA is not dedicated to becoming a governing body–my letters to the IOC have only indicated to them our interest in being included in any and all conversations and decisions regarding skateboarding becoming a venue for the Olympic games. -Jim Fitzpatrick, UPSA

[Editor's Note: I couldn't attend the meeting in Pamona, and I would love to have someone write minutes. But for the meantime, I heard from Don Bistick, Dave Carnie, and Jim Gray all who attended the meeting and what I gather in summary is that not one skateboarding entity shall pursue a "governing body" course on their own especially when it comes to the Olympic game and that World Cup Skating, SPAUSA, IASC, and UPSA will form a body so that all interests of the skateboarding community and skateboarders are accurately represented. Keeping in mind, of course, that USA Roller Sports IS the governing body of skateboarding where the Olympics are concerned and this new body (which Dave Carnie wants to call FIST) may not have any control at this point. Can we hear from the FIST people soon? -Clarkie]

Clarkie: My apologies that there had been no response until now to the email you sent USA Roller Sports in late October. I am sure it has sufficiently been established that USA Roller Sports is not the national governing body of skateboarding in the United States. It must first be a recognized discipline within the Olympic Movement to fall under a federation. I am unsure how this particular inaccuracy reached the public. It could have been a miscommunication on our end or elsewhere. USA Roller Sports' involvement in skateboarding is on the grass roots level, as a response to the membership's request. We do have skateboarding members and chartered venues, and to them, we have an obligation to progress roller sports, being defined as any sport performed on wheels, as skateboarding is performed. USARS is a sanctioning body that provides insurance to both the venue and the skater. We provide coverage up to $1 Million in liability insurance for a sanctioned event or chartered venue. And as a USARS individual member you are provided with $25,000 individual medical coverage per accident. From that point USARS is responsible for growing the sport by providing current information, building the grass roots in the skateparks and rinks, building classes, forming clubs, and providing continuing education to the membership. Through all of this, we are creating a national and international network of skaters and experts in the field as we have more than 75 sister national federations around the world as part of FIRS. Ultimately our goal, as a part of the Olympic Family, is to grow competition from the local, to regional, to national, to international level. As you can see, the future inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympic Games is only one facet of USA Roller Sports. Skateboarding is in the very, very early stages of development for USARS. We always welcome the input of skaters, most definitely in skateboarding, so please share your thoughts, concerns and suggestions. And as we are a non-profit sporting organization, volunteerism is priceless. USARS would not be able to conduct competition or be an effective sanctioning body if not for our membership and our volunteers. They ARE USA Roller Sports. I hope this has been of some help to you. Please feel free to contact me at any time at 402.483.7551 or at this email address. I understand your concerns and hope that I have sufficiently addressed those issues.
Dinah Robbins Director of Publications and Design USA Roller Sports
4730 South Street
Lincoln, NE 68506 T: 402.483.7551 F: 402.483.1465


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