Abstract

Although scholars have focused on the racial politics of popular and Olympic sports (particularly in the US context), few have addressed issues of race in action sports like skateboarding. Those who do consider race in elite skateboarding broadly frame skaters of color (SOC) as “tokens” with little to no agency. Furthermore, the scholarly literature theorizes skateboarding culture as a space of whiteness, with a limited capacity to act as a contested site of racial politics and fails to include and consider the voices and experiences of elite SOC. This article's interviews with SOC offer firsthand accounts and analysis of the racial politics encountered by elite SOC from the 2020–2021 US Olympic team ahead of skateboarding's Olympic debut in Tokyo. Informed by the activism of critical race theory (CRT), this article gives voice to the previously voiceless. Privileging the stories of elite SOC at the formation or nexus of Olympic skateboarding, the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM), and rising Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) violence, this research clarifies how elite US Olympic SOC contest racism and stereotypes while navigating “otherness” and “double consciousness” in their role as historic spokespeople for skateboarding, their families, and US communities of color.

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