five months before Paris 2024, “there is enthusiasm, it’s spectacular”

At the Arena, Porte de la Chapelle, the Street League skateboarding was held this Saturday, a sort of Skateboarding Champions League. The opportunity to see the growing popularity of this sport as the Olympics approach.


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The Street League skateboarding, the discipline's flagship competition, in Paris February 24, 2024. (JULIEN FROMENT / RADIOFRANCE)

In the stands of the Adidas Arena, it’s difficult to find a place on Saturday February 24. All the seats were taken by storm to attend this SLS event: the Street League skateboarding, the flagship competition of the discipline which brings together all the best skateboarders on the planet.

Among the spectators, Eléa, in her twenties, alongside her boyfriend Hugo. “I offered him places, I didn’t really know anything about it, but for someone like me who doesn’t know too much, it’s really good!“, she rejoices. With a little glossary so as not to be too overwhelmed: “My boyfriend taught me a few things, like grinding (sliding on the trucks, the T-shaped metal parts under the board), the flips (jump and twist the board), I’m a little stuck actually!”

Hugo, who doesn’t miss a beat, tried to take places for the Paris 2024 games, in vain: “This ordeal more than makes up for it, it’s even better. Because at the Games, the atmosphere will be more formal. There, the Street League is like the NBA, we’re in the thick of things, it’s so good!

Aurélien Giraud and Vincent Milou, winners by applause meter

In the applause meter, the French are well ahead, and in particular Aurélien Giraud, 2023 world champion. His name is chanted in the stands, cries of joy are uttered at each successfully completed “trick”. “We’re not used to this, it’s more in countries like Brazil, the United States or Japan that we have this kind of atmosphere, it’s really incredible“, testifies for franceinfo the 25-year-old Lyonnais, who entered the Grévin museum this week. “We are more and more in the media, but that does not change our personality. We’re still skaters who love skateboarding, I’ve worked my whole life to reach that level. You have to stay with your feet on the ground, and that’s a good thing.”

The organization of this stage of the Street League in France is a way to accelerate the democratization of a practice always in search of respectability. “Sometimes people still look at us askance in the street, confides Parisian skater Charlotte Hym. But it’s true that overall, there are more and more skaters, infrastructure, it’s positive.”

Before the Games, there are few sports that the media likes to consume, skateboarding is one of them“, underlines the president of the French Roller and Skateboard Federation, Boris Darlet. “There is no surprise, we are aware that skateboarding is attractive. There is an audience, there is enthusiasm, it is spectacular, it is a show. I am delighted for France that we are able to show it to the Parisian public, it is an achievement.

If there is still a lack of infrastructure – 500 skateparks are planned in the plan for the 5,000 sports facilities required by the Generation 2024 plan – the public is already there. In front of more than 6,500 enthusiastic spectators, the French skaters had, in any case, a tantalizing taste of what they will experience next July, Place de la Concorde.

source site-33