Summit local helps lead the drive for Paralympic skateboarding
Daniel Gale of Adaptive Action Sports is part of an American subcommittee eyeing inclusion by the 2028 Los Angeles games
As skateboarding makes its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan, a Summit County local is all in on helping to bring the sport to the Paralympics as well.
Daniel Gale, co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, is a member of the American contingent taking the initial steps to bring para skateboarding to, he hopes, the 2024 or 2028 Paralympics.
Gale, husband of Adaptive Action Sports co-founder and Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy, has worked with the X Games and Dew Tour to host para skateboarding events. He is now a member of a 10-person USA Skateboarding Subcommittee dedicated to getting skateboarding into the Paralympic Games.
Gale said Tuesday, Aug. 3, he hopes skateboarding could be added to the Paralympic program in time for the 2024 games in Paris, France, though the 2028 games in Los Angeles — regarded by many as the birthplace of the sport — seems more likely.
“We did it with snowboarding,” Gale said. “Adaptive Action Sports played a big role getting snowboarding into the Paralympic games. So we’re making sure we’re checking all the boxes, avoiding the mistakes we did on the long journey for snowboarding and streamlining the process to see if we can get this thing going sooner than later. … I think we are on track with everybody who is involved to come up with a plan where we can have success for para skateboarding.”
Gale said Adaptive Action Sports’ experience with Paralympic snowboarding helped earn him the position on the USA Skateboarding Subcommittee. The subcommittee is chaired by his good friend and para skateboarder Oscar Loreto. Loreto is the former development manager at Adaptive Action Sports, and he finished fifth out of 12 para skateboarders earlier this summer at Dew Tour in Des Moines, Iowa. Loreto is also a member of the USA Skateboarding executive board of directors.
Gale said the sport of para skateboarding has a wider and deeper talent pool than adaptive snowboarding.
“It’s a little bit more accessible, and we have a fairly extensive circuit that we are using as our qualifying events, which, eventually, will be considered (the North American Cup series) as we start to get things sanctioned,” Gale said. “We have got a series of eight-to-nine competitions that mirror a Vans Park Series event or Grind for Life park-series event.”
Gale added that Adaptive Action Sports hopes to host a few competitions in Denver and/or Summit County next year.
“We are just currently building that competition base,” Gale said. “And then from there we fill in the pipeline; go back and fill in the recreational-based stuff, like lessons and introducing people into the sport.”
Gale said Adaptive Action Sports has partnered with Missouri-based Adaptive Skate Kollective in recent years to progress the sport. That includes working together to manifest the X Games and Dew Tour para skating competitions and making a bunch of forward progress toward the goal of having a para-skate series and elite competitions like the Paralympics.
Gale said he hopes in the coming years domestic and international entities can help to grow the sport of adaptive skateboarding and its contest circuit globally. Gale said that will need to happen in order for the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to consider the sport for the Olympic catalog.
Gale said he’s aware of organizational progress being made in Japan and Brazil. Once progress is made on domestic fronts, Gale said steps could then be made to further organize internationally under an umbrella entity. World Skate is currently the governing body for skateboarding and roller sports that is officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
As for competition classifications, Gale said there’ll likely be a wheelchair class, two-to-three lower-limb classes, an upper limb class and potentially even a blind division.
And, just like for the able-bodied skaters at this year’s Olympics, there’d likely be both street and park contests.
“Given the opportunity to be in the Paralympics, skateboarding would add some excitement as snowboarding did to that charter,” Gale said. “It’s something I think everybody wants to see grow and be successful.”
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