Are these adventure sports Olympic-bound? When you consider what folks can do in both acro and slacklining, I can see it happening. Acroyoga is basically in the olympics already, it’s called partner gymnastics. Yes, I know there are differences. And I could see them adding to partner gymnastics with things like L-Basing and yogic positions. So that’s not much of a stretch. Now, this brings us to slacklining.
The closest thing they have to slacklining in the Olympics is the women’s gymnastics balance beam. If you don’t know what that is, it’s women–(HA! That’s funny, it’s actually girls…14 years old girls trying to push it at the end of their career in the Olympics–anywho, these women do acrobatic tricks on a stationary 4 inch beam about 4 feet off the ground. Don’t get me wrong, these girls have amazing talent. But with slacklining, you can do everything they can on the beam, and so much more.
Yes, there’s some major differences between the two. The most obvious being that there is a spring/bounce added on the line when compared to the balance beam. The line is also only 1 inch wide, compared to the 4 inch width of the beam. And then there’s the fact that it moves on you! (Actually, technically you’re moving it.) Even if you use a trickline that’s 2 inches wide, it’s still half the width of the traditional beam.
This then beckons the question, how do you set standards and judge different styles of slacklining and other related arts? There’s many factors to consider including:
- What type of line to use? (Slacklines vs. tricklines, not to mention all the webbing styles within that.)
- How long to make the lines, and at what tensions?
- What about slack ropes and slack wires?
How will they organize all of these factors? I don’t know, but I’m sure they will…soon. I mean, how’d they figure out what events to have within gymnastics? When they decided to introduce parallel bars, balance beam, floor routines, and still rings to the mix, officials had to discuss all of the relevant standards and criteria, just as they will do for slacklining.
How I can forsee this? Look at the history of any “sport”. (Whatever “sport” may mean. For instance, I don’t see swimming as a sport. It’s what you do to avoid drowning. But what do I know?) I’m old enough to remember the classic days of snow skiing. Then one day, a weirdo went down the mountain on a single, really fat ski, sideways. At the time, many of us skiers just laughed. I remember comments like “That will never take off.” and “Look at those knuckle draggers!”. Many years (and many bowls) later, it became an olympic sport.
I also remember skateboarding in the early 80’s. Folks hated us. They told us we were worthless, that we weren’t going to amount to anything, and that we were just destroying curbs and planters. Then I noticed the friends I skated with starting to get sponsered, like Jason Lee, Lance Mountain, Ray Barbie and Tony Hawk. A few years later, after making a good grip of cash, and after Tony became the biggest name in the field ever, there came the larger contests. The X Games perhaps being the biggest. It’s not an olympic sport (yet), but these skaters are just as talented.
Most things start off slow and small, often with large amounts of criticism. But they can end up turning into something that many folks know, love and practice everyday. Eventually they gain recognition in the athletic community, and people begin making careers out of them. Just think about it…
Who was the first person to put two logs under their feet and go down a snowy mountain?
Who first put a ball through a ring, with a net hanging from it, 10 feet above the ground with a backboard?
Who pushed a heavy weight across the ice with one push, as someone cleared the pathway with a brush as the weight is in motion? Welcome to the world of Curling.
Many of us enjoy these sports without ever considering how they started.
I think that slacklining will eventually get to the Olympics. When? I haven’t a clue. And maybe it won’t. Skateboarding hasn’t…but Curling has? Still confused on that. None the less, there are some really talented folks out there. And if you don’t know who “Li Wei” is, check him out. Because…DAMN!
The kids that are being raised on a line are soon going to be far beyond most of our current thoughts of what’s possible. I’ve seen some little runts that are really good and they’re not even 10 years old yet. So I’m looking forward to see where this love and passion of slacklining will go in the future.