421. Skateboarding – A New Olympic Sport (with James)

Here’s a new episode with James about Skateboarding, which will be a new event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, along with karate, surfing, baseball/softball, sport climbing and surfing. James has been a skater for most of his life and used to write articles for a skateboarding magazine, so he’s exactly the right person to talk to about this.

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Skateboarding might seem like an annoying antisocial hobby for children but for the first time it has been accepted by the Olympic Federation as a proper sport and is going to be one of the events at the next Olympic Games happening in Tokyo in 2020. So, skateboarding is now a mainstream sport. When the Olympics are shown on TV in a few years’ time, skateboarding might be one of the most popular events for audiences around the world, especially when you consider the popularity of snowboarding in the winter games. So, let’s find out about skating so we are ready to understand and appreciate it more.

Types of skateboarding

  • Ramp (vert or miniramp)
  • Street
  • Freestyle
  • Park

Parts of a skateboard

  • The Deck – the wooden board itself, made of maple plywood and covered in grip-tape and with the nose at the front and the tail at the back)
  • The Trucks (made of die-cast aluminium – they fix the wheels & axles onto the deck)
  • The Wheels (made of polyurethane or ‘urethane’ and available in different hardnesses)
  • The Bearings (the metal components that allow the wheels to spin on the axles)

Common tricks

  • Ollie (jumping with the board under you, still touching your feet)
  • Kickflip (an ollie in which you flip the board sideways under your feet by kicking it in the air)
  • Shove-it (spinning the board under your feet so the nose spins round from front to back, or back to front)
  • Different types of grab (doing an ollie then grabbing the board in the air)
  • Grind (sliding or scraping the trucks of the board along an object like a curb or rail)
  • Boardslide (sliding along an object on the underside of the board)
  • Blunt (balancing on an object on the back wheels and tail)
  • Nollie – doing an ollie but from the nose not the tail
  • and many more! Click here for a full glossary of skateboarding.


Here is James’ selection of videos to give you an idea of the different types of skating, and some of his favourite skaters and cool moments in skateboarding. Notes written by James.

Natas Kaupas, one of the first people to develop street skating.

Mark Gonzales skating vert and street and play fighting with Oscar-winning film director, Spike Jonze. From the Real skateboards video Non Fiction. (1997)

The legend of Tom Penny, a skater from Oxford, England: Zen master, legend, space cadet, enigma.

Lizzie Armanto, one of the best female US bowl / park skaters, in an ad for Bones bearings.

Women’s Highlights – Huntington Beach | 2016 Vans Pro Skate Park Series

The Flip skateboards video “Sorry” from 2002, presented by Johnny Rotten – probably the best skate video ever made… Madness. Good soundtrack too.

James describes his skateboarding injury on the podcast in episode 180.

180. Dislocated Shoulder

McVities Chocolate Digestives

Here’s that advert on the Paris metro “McVitie’s – It’s English, but it’s good!”


Click here for the full list of ingredients!

Is skateboarding popular in your country? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

  • Orion team

    Hi people,

    we have finished the 421 episode and we can continue proofreading it and suggesting modifications or filling the gaps.


    Thank you to people (17) who have participate in this episode.

  • Catherine

    Well, what James chose not to tell here is the strange encounters and adventures he had related to his skateboarding:
    – the lost in Hastings situation (but we already know it)
    – the police encounter (and letting his younger brother to the officers — alone and desperately crying!)

    • Orion team

      When the police arrive we can only run. There is nothing to fear from them when you are only skateboarding maybe a fine… And to be caught was not so bad. Sure they were proud of it and laughed about it later and now.

      (sorry I forgot to change to my personañ account.) ptholome

  • Jack

    Luke, 9 time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb was a gymnast before he decided to join rally racing,I think athletes are gifted in hand eye coordination department and what pilots call “seats of the pants feel”.

    Another bloke from America is a pretty good skateboarder and quite competitive at amateur rally racing.

  • Catherine

    Wow, all three coming up Olympic Games to take place in Asia:

    PyeongChang 2018 – Winter
    Tokyo 2020 – Summer
    Beijing 2020 – Winter

    Is it not amazing?

    I believe Luke’s English Podcast is going to be even more attractive in the future — all new hosts have to learn English! :))

    And who’s next in 2024?

    a) Los Angeles
    b) Budapest
    c) Paris

    What do you, Lepsters, guess? I personally am for Budapest (sorry, Luke!) :))


    • Eri Taguchi

      I did not know winter games in 2022 is in Beijing!!! They just did summer games and it is after Koria!!! Who decided it?????
      I heard it might be Paris. Paris also has announced itself as a candidate for international expo. in 2025, that is because Paris might win.

      • Catherine

        There is a whole procedure to that, with applications and so. But sometimes some dubious things going on as well… Not so transparent, in short.

        Here for you another Moonzy clip involving some skateboards. ;)


  • Eri Taguchi

    Yes, we Japanese do think about the Olympic game in Tokyo 2020.
    I agree that if we could speak a bit English, it would be a great thing. And also, I want someone come to Japan to learn some easy useful Japanese.
    And biscuits!! Yes!!!

    • Naomi

      Hi, Eri!
      Thanks for your reply.Yeah, it’s good idea that people come to Japan to learn Japanese.Learning a new language is fun!