1st Edition

Action Sports and the Olympic Games
Past, Present, Future

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 5, 2021
ISBN 9781138492851
November 5, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
344 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Based on a decade of research by two leading action sports scholars, this book maps the relationship between action sports and the Olympic Movement, from the inclusion of the first action sports to those featuring for the first time in the Tokyo Olympic Games and beyond.


In an effort to remain relevant to younger audiences, four new action sports, surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and BMX freestyle were included in the Tokyo Olympic program. Drawing upon interviews with Olympic insiders, as well as leaders, athletes and participants in these action sports communities, the book details the impacts on the action sports industry and cultures, and offers national comparisons to show the uneven effects resulting from Olympic inclusion. It reveals the intricate workings of power and politics in contemporary sports organizations, and maps key trends in this changing sporting landscape.


Action Sports and the Olympic Games is a fascinating read for anybody studying the Olympics, the sociology of sport, action sports, or sport policy.

Table of Contents

1. Introducing Action Sports and the Olympic Games

2. Mapping Action Sports and the Olympic Games: Theoretical and Conceptual Considerations

3. Researching the Action Sports-Olympic Games Assemblage: A Longitudinal and Multi-Method Approach

4. The History of Action sports and the Olympics Games

5. Agenda 2020 and the Tokyo Announcement: Initial Responses and Debates in Action Sport Cultures

6. Action Sports and the Politics of Governance

7. The Action Sports Industry: A Shifting Landscape

8. Skateboarding, the Olympics and Flexible Opposition: The Sportisation of the Anti-Sport

9. Surfing’s Paradoxical Journey from Alternative Lifestyle to Olympic Sport

10. Developing Pathways to Tokyo: National Differences in the Professionalisation of Self-Governing Action Sports

11. Action Sports and the Opportunities and Challenges for Gender Equity

12. Conclusion

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Belinda Wheaton is Professor of Sociology of Sport at the University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand.


Holly Thorpe is Professor of Sociology of Sport and Physical Culture at the University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand.