For street skaters, run-ins with neighbours and security guards are annoyingly commonplace. In Japan, where Yuto Horigome won the first ever Olympic gold awarded in skateboarding, the discipline is still widely considered as a public nuisance.
In a perfect example of skating’s odd position in Japanese society, countless white posters that read “SKATING BANNED” were duct taped on the fence surrounding the Ariake Urban Park on Tokyo’s waterfront, shielding locals from the world’s most famous athletes competing in, well, skateboarding.
When asked about the posters by Reuters, American Olympian Nyjah Huston said he hoped skateboarding’s inception into the Olympics would make it more socially acceptable.
“We’re not out there trying to vandalize or trespass as lots of people see it, we’re just out there doing our job and having an awesome time,” he said.
Fellow countrymen Jagger Eaton turned philosophical when asked about it.
“Skateboarding is so much bigger than a sport, it’s an artform,” he told reporters after he won bronze. “It’s a creative outlet and a lot of people just don’t see it that way, which is unfortunate.”