Skateboarding Mega-Events As Preparation for the 2020 Olympics: A Case Study of the Vans Park Series Championships in Shanghai

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This research provides a case study of the Vans Park Series (VPS) Skateboarding World Championship held in Shanghai in September 2017. Over the course of 14 days a concrete skatepark was constructed on Shanghai’s picturesque Bund, used for the event, and then demolished. The live stream of the competition was watched by 1.4 million people globally, making it small in comparison to other global sporting Mega-Events, but considerable regarding the sport of skateboarding. This study explores the significance of the new development of skateboarding Mega-Events. It highlights how VPS and Street League Skateboarding (SLS) have become the premier skateboarder controlled events that will feed, through the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF), qualifying skateboarders into the 2020 Olympic games. At the heart of this case study is the concern and control that skateboarders exert in communicating and persevering the values and ethics of skateboarding as it makes the final transition from a street subculture to an organised sport. In the process, many veteran skateboarders generate business and entrepreneurial opportunities tied to these transformations. The Shanghai site of the case study corresponds with the interest of Vans in generating new markets for the consumption of their products, and the importance that skateboarding holds for Chinese aspirations for gold medals in the Olympics. Thus, the study touches on the recruitment of a Chinese national skateboarding team made up of former child members of the Shaolin temple. Both politically and financially, collaboration with Asian skateboarders, Chinese business elites, and government officials provides additional insight to the organisation and impact of the event that extends beyond the spectacle of the Mega-Event.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2018
EventXIX ISA World Congress of Sociology - Canada, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 20 Jul 201820 Jul 2018


ConferenceXIX ISA World Congress of Sociology
OtherInternational Sociological Association (ISA)
Internet address


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