Tag Archives: skating

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. How my Brother Dislocated his Shoulder (with James)

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.

180. How my Brother Dislocated his Shoulder (with James)

aka “My Brother’s Skateboarding Injury”, or “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”, or “A Cup of Morphine with James Thompson”.

Two days ago my brother fell off his skateboard and dislocated his shoulder. In this episode he tells us all about what happened. We also chat about how he still loves skateboarding after 30 years and lots of injuries.

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The episode is an authentic Skype call between my brother me. It is full of vocabulary for describing accidents, injuries, hospitals and medical treatments. You can find a lot of that vocabulary listed below, and I will explain it for you in the next episode of the podcast. We also talk about skateboarding, and so you’ll hear quite a lot of vocabulary on that subject too.

Let me help you understand and learn the vocabulary! I have listened to the conversation again and I’ve typed out bits of vocabulary from the first 15 minutes. That’s when he explains how he had his accident, and how he received treatment for it. You can find that vocabulary in a list of sentences below. What I’m going to do now is to record another episode in which I clarify and explain the vocabulary from the interview. I’ll publish that as soon as I’ve finished it. So, in order to get definitions of these phrases, just listen to the next episode.

The transcript writing collaboration is going really well, with more episodes being transcribed by listeners all the time. If you fancy transcribing some of this episode, you can. Just click here to access the Google document.

Vocabulary List
Listen to the next episode of the podcast to hear me explain all these things in more detail.
First of all – sorry for my brother’s fiddling and fidgeting!
I’m not too bad thanks, considering…
The day before yesterday I came a cropper on my skateboard and dislocated my shoulder
The arm popped out of its socket
I feel a bit, sort of, run down, I suppose would be the word. A bit tired and achy.
Just the twatty landlord using the garden as some sort of rubbish tip as usual.
I was skating a block-sort of-bar thing. “Skating the block“, not “skating on the block“. (The difference is quite important if you’re a skater)
I was doing a board slide on it but it kept sticking.
I leant back a little bit more.
As I was coming off the block I landed fine but slightly on the tail of the board. (Nose, tail, wheels, trucks, grip tape, bearings – skateboard parts).
Slightly off-balance.
I put my hand down to stop myself falling but I carried on sliding out. My feet slid underneath me and I overextended my arm behind my head, and kind of slammed down on my body. My weight came down on my arm.
I immediately jumped up and it felt really really weird.
I felt a shelf where the shoulder-blade (he means collar bone I think) stopped and then there was a 2 inch gap and then the arm. (ouch!)
I knew at that point that I’d dislocated my shoulder. (Past perfect tense)
To start with there wasn’t any pain, the pain came a few minutes in.
I don’t normally get an ambulance for a self-inflicted injury. (what a tough and modest guy he is!)
I normally get a bus or a taxi to A&E but this time I thought it warranted it because I couldn’t move at all.
[It was] extreme muscular pain, like when you tear ligaments or sprain an ankle.
They were going “ooh” which makes you feel uncomfortable if someone’s wincing, you know.
They tried to get a needle into me for a drip. They couldn’t get a vein to bleed properly. (they couldn’t find a vein)
They put some intravenous paracetamol into me, which didn’t really do anything.
It’s an over-the-counter pain-relief pill.
Why are there no aspirins in the jungle? Because the parrots eat them all (the ‘paracetamol’ – yes, it’s a terrible joke)
I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore what was going on.
They drove me with the ‘woo-woos’ on.
(I tell James to stop fiddling… and he says…) I can’t remember where we were now.
They wheeled me into the hospital. (I attempt to highlight the irony of getting injured on a wheeled vehicle and then being taken into a hospital on another wheeled vehicle – it’s an unsuccessful joke, but never mind)
An Indian-looking doctor looked at me.
You can relax a bit when the doctor seems quite in-control.
He told me exactly what was going to happen. I’d need an x-ray to check that nothing was broken, then if nothing was broken then they’d give me some more drugs and then put it back in, and then they’d give me another x-ray to check that nothing had broken while they were putting it back in, which kind of made me think it might be quite a painful process having it set back.
They gave me some morphine, and it didn’t seem to do anything and I was, like, grimacing a bit, so they gave me some more.
They gave you morphine and they gave you nitrous oxide?
You’re breaking up a little bit.
Do you find that breaking up is very hard to do? (This was probably quite confusing, but it’s my brother’s attempt at a sardonic joke – referring to a famous song which uses the same phrase, but with a different meaning)
“You’re breaking up” (your phone/skype signal is not clear)
“Breaking up is hard to do” (Separating, splitting up with your boyfriend or girlfriend – there are two songs that use this phrase, “Make it easy on yourself” by The Walker Brothers & written by Burt Bacharach, and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka. You can listen to those original songs below. Sorry about my singing.
(James receives a phone call from his girlfriend because she wants to check that he’s okay. How sweet.)
She was a bit worried about me because I was a bit sort of groggy yesterday.
I feel a bit sort of run down, a bit beaten up, but fine.
Good thing you didn’t hit your head.
I didn’t shatter my collar bone or something like that, that would have been horrible.
It could have been something worse.
You don’t need a cast. Nothing’s broken.

That’s as much as I’m able to do at this moment. You’ll just have to listen to the rest of the conversation unaided and try to work out exactly what we’re saying. It’ll be good for your English!

The Selfie of Jim in Hospital








Songs and Videos

Here are some videos and songs that James and I mention during this episode.

Real skating at Stockwell skate park in Brixton, South London. This is where my brother goes skating. The video was filmed and edited by James himself.

“Make it easy on yourself” by The Walker Brothers

“Breaking Up is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka

The French Connection (1971) with Gene Hackman – The amazing car chase scene (A big inspiration for the computer game “Driver” by the way…)

“Speedfreaks” 1989 Skate Movie (Santa Cruz Skateboards)