It’s not every day that the Olympic Games gains a new sport. Humans have been playing sports of all sorts for millennia, and it’s truly a historical moment when a new one is added to the collection. The popular and thrilling water sport known as wakeboarding has recently been included in the set of sports featured in the Olympics, and it will make its Olympic debut in the 2016 Olympic Games set in Brazil’s capital Rio de Janeiro. Given the popularity of the sport in Brazil, it’s the perfect setting for its introduction into the official sporting world.
A Brand New Option for Those Who Love a Thrill
For the bold risk takers in the world of sports, wakeboarding is a new chance to take home the gold medal. It has been classified as the newest in the collection of “extreme sports” that Olympic athletes can compete in. Anyone who has seen wakeboard riders performing out on the water will agree that this is a sport that deserves the appellation “extreme”. It’s similar to water skiing, but it also incorporates elements from a number of other sports, including downhill skiing and snowboarding. Athletes perform a series of exhilarating stunts while riding on a board and holding a line connected to a motorboat. The boat is specially designed to create the ideal wake for the activity. The wake, when properly generated, serves to launch the rider into the air. While in the air, the rider performs the most complex tricks that he or she is capable of doing.
A New Vocabulary
As with figure skating, skiing, and all other Olympic sports that feature stunts, wakeboarding brings in its own brand new terminology. Athletes will be striving to perform as many of the officially recognized tricks that they can during two passes through the course. The system for judging will need to take into account the whole gamut of official tricks and develop means for evaluating each athlete’s success at each trick. There will be “tootsie rolls,” “whirlybirds,” “air raleys”, and “backside 720’s,” each one requiring its own scorecard. When you think about it, introducing a new extreme sport based on stunts into the Olympic Games takes quite a bit of planning!
The Planning Process
The inclusion of wakeboarding in the Olympics was made possible with the efforts of several members of the International Olympic Community (IOC) and several well-known members of the wakeboarding community. The IOC and other organizations observed the sport for several years before coming to the conclusion that it deserved official status. During the upcoming summer games scheduled for 2016 and 2020, wakeboarding will be performed on a trial basis. Athletes will be able to earn official medals in 2024 and beyond if it is fully accepted as an official Olympic sport.
For wakeboard riders and observers alike, this is certain to be an exciting expansion of the Olympics. Wakeboarding is famous for its death-defying stunts that sometimes turn into excruciating crashes. In terms of the risk involved, it’s easily on a par with downhill skiing. Without a doubt, this extreme sport will turn the image of a motorboat with a boat tower and wakeboard rider speeding along into a familiar one for Olympic viewers all over the world.