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Zak Kaczmarek/Getty
Zak Kaczmarek/Getty

Olympic Skateboarding in 2020 Raises Concerns Over Drug Testing

Zak Kaczmarek/Getty
Zak Kaczmarek/Getty

With all of the problems facing this year’s Olympics in Rio, it may feel premature to start worrying about the summer games in 2020. But the introduction of skateboarding to the Tokyo Olympics has at least one veteran of the sport concerned. As ABC News reports, Australian skateboarding legend Tas Pappas believes that testing for marijuana may keep some top athletes from competing for the gold.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently approved skateboarding, along with surfing, sports climbing, karate, baseball, and softball for the 2020 Olympic games. Skateboarding has been a staple of the X Games since 1995, but the Olympics, which treats drug usage much more seriously, may attract a different type of competitor. At least that’s what Tas Pappas anticipates.

The championship skater told ABC News, "I'm wondering how it's going to work as far as the drug testing is concerned, because some guys skate really well on weed and if they have to stop smoking for one competition [the Olympics] it might really affect their performance."

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has relaxed their attitude towards marijuana since the last Olympic games. Before 2013, their threshold for the drug was 150 nanograms per milliliter, which is enough to catch some casual users weeks after the chemical enters their system. The standard has been raised to 10 times that in order to zero-in on athletes who take the drug that day. But for regular cannabis users, a positive test could still mean disqualification.

The perhaps tenuous connection between skateboarding and marijuana isn’t the only issue Pappas raised. He also pointed out that the same brand of national pride that drives Olympic teams isn’t felt as strongly in skating communities. "When you meet a bunch of skaters you don't feel like it's us versus them, it's just a bunch of guys getting together and want to have a skate,” he said to ABC News. We’ll have to wait until 2020 to see if an Olympic debut is enough to bring the counter-culture sport into the mainstream.

[h/t ABC News]

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6 New Events Will Debut At This Year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang
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iStock

It’s that time again! The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 9, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is adding a handful of new events to the festivities. In 2014, 12 new events—including Men’s and Women’s Ski Half-Pipe and Biathlon Mixed Relay—were added to make the Sochi Games more challenging and exciting. This year, six new events will make their debut in PyeongChang.

Here’s what’s new for 2018: While it started out as an X-Games event, extreme athletes will now get their chance to win gold medals in Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Big Air, which sees competitors performing their best spins and tricks after launching off a large (about 160 feet) ramp. For the first time, the Alpine skiing Nations Team Event will make its debut; the event features mixed teams of two men and two women going head-to-head in a series of downhill slalom races in a best-of-four competition.

Next up, Men’s and Women’s Speed Skating Mass Start features a maximum of 28 athletes in a 16-lap race, where all participants start at the same time with winner-takes-all stakes. Speed Skating Mass Start first appeared during the Lake Placid games in 1932, but has sat out the Winter Olympics in the 85 years since, so it's prepared to make a triumphant return.

Lastly, there's Curling Mixed Doubles. The new event consists of teams of two, a man and a woman, competing in a curling match with eight ends and five stones, instead of the traditional 10 and eight, respectively. In addition, there’s a 22-minute limit to get a team’s stones closest to the center button of the house.

The Opening Ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will air on NBC beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Friday, February 9, 2018.

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Redesigned Adidas Sneakers Channel Beijing’s Olympic Stadium
KXIV
KXIV

Beijing National Stadium has stood empty since the 2008 Olympics, but that hasn’t stopped the building from becoming an architectural icon. Designer KXIV (Nathan Kiatkulpiboone) found inspiration in the tangled "Bird’s Nest" structure when re-imagining Adidas’s Ultraboost running shoe. As designboom reports, he used 3D-printing technology to achieve the lattice design.

KXIV comes from a background in architecture. When he isn’t dreaming up shopping centers or city towers, he’s applying the principles he uses as an architect to sneaker design. In 2014, he unveiled a pair of Nike Jordan X shoes that borrowed elements from Thailand’s White Temple and Black House. He's also created a line of dress shoes inspired by modern architecture for the footwear brand SewRaw.

His latest project evokes the Bird’s Nest woven exterior. The Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron designed the stadium for the 2008 Olympics, and today it’s remembered as one of the most distinctive structures ever built for the games.

To recreate the look on an Adidas sneaker, KXIV used polyurethane webbing fused to a lycra base. The upper layer of bands were 3D-printed in a way that holds the shoes together. The sneakers are just a prototype, so like the stadium they’re based on, the striking form will remain unused for the foreseeable future.

Shoes inspired by Beijing National Stadium.
KXIV
KXIV

Shoes inspired by Beijing National Stadium.
KXIV

[h/t designboom]

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