TOKYO (Reuters) -For street skaters, run-ins with neighbours and security guards are annoyingly commonplace. In Japan, where Yuto Horigome won here the first ever Olympic gold awarded in skateboarding, the discipline is still widely considered as a public nuisance.
In an example of the sport’s odd position in Japanese society, countless white posters that read “SKATING BANNED” were duck taped to a boundary fence on the edge of the Ariake Urban Park on Tokyo’s waterfront, shielding locals from the athletes competing in skateboarding.
The signs were posted by a nearby school in an area that has wide avenues and brick sidewalks.
When asked about the posters, American Nyjah Huston told Reuters he hoped skateboarding’s inception into the Olympics would make it more socially acceptable.
“We’re not out there trying to vandalise 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 later in the day.
“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.”
Reporting by Mari Saito, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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