“Being an Olympic champion is crazy!”: Esteban Clot, 17, is convinced that his sport, the scooter, will be at the Olympic Games in 2028 in Los Angeles, in the new spirit initiated by skateboarding. Discussions are underway and rollerblading intends to follow the movement of urban sports.
In front of thousands of people during the Fise in Montpellier - an unmissable event for urban and extreme sports -, scooters and rollerblades wow the crowd in the street park event (perform tricks in a park containing modules), one of the two categories of skateboarding which made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in 2021. And the International Skateboard Federation (World Skate) does not intend to stop there.
“We are currently discussing with the International Olympic Committee. Our DNA is an advantage because it's an urban DNA, and with the help of host cities like Los Angeles (2028) or Brisbane (2030), we have a good chance of having other sports in the future." , Francesco Zangarini, sports director at World Skate, told AFP.
“There are millions of young people around the world and it has exploded since last year. This is the reason why the scooter could be recognized by the Olympic movement. We have already presented it to the IOC and we have already talked about Los Angeles with them,” says Zangarini, responsible for the development of the 12 disciplines of World Skate (135 affiliated federations).
The scooter - called "trotte" by the French-speaking community and "scooter" in English - is the youngest member of the family of urban sliding sports, commonly known as "freestyle" and also present in cycling at the Olympic Games with the BMX Park (entered at the Tokyo Games).
In 1996, the Swiss Wim Outboker revived a scooter from his childhood. By the end of 2000, his company Micro was selling 80,000 scooters a day. Since then, more than 50 million models have been sold, underlines the CEO of Micro France to AFP, noting that the "freestyle scooter market has experienced a huge boom like all board sports in 2020 and 2021 during and after -pandemic ".
An exploding market, a particularly young population, a strong presence on social networks: arguments that can seduce the Olympics.
“There are so many scooter riders that it would seem weird to me that in 2028 we weren't there (at the Olympics). The Games have a side that must pay off and the trot in terms of business is not bad. Frankly, with all the little ones who practice, the videos... I don't see why there is BMX, skateboarding and not trotted in 2028”, launches Esteban Clot, turned pro at 15 years old.
Still a victim of conflicts with the greatest of skateboarding and BMX, the scooter must however structure itself to aim higher. What Zangarini is “working hard” at, whose Federation took over the scooter when the International Scooter Federation (ISF) already existed.
On the other hand, there is a lot to be done in terms of sporting equity between men and women. During the Fise, there were no pro riders on scooters.
Inline skating, on the other hand, boasts a very significant female representation.
“For a sport to enter the Olympics, you honestly need parity. Roller skating might be preferred for that. In trots there are what, ten girls in the world. In skating it's really a lot ”, notes to AFP the French Manon Derien, one of the athletes in inline skating, citing the explosion in the level and participation of girls in BMX freestyle since the Olympic label.
Skating, at the origin of the creation of the World Skate in 1924 with rink-hockey, had its boom years in the 90s with the Rollerblade brand, then the bottom of the wave between 2002 and 2010. Before returning these last two, three years carried by the very trendy return of the fashion of the 90s.
But to enter the Games, skating "must be more urban" warns Zangarini, who does not lose hope for 2028.
The Olympics will then be in Los Angeles, a cult place for rollerblading.