Skateboarders don’t come any more core than Jamie Foy, but Foy’s respect spans far beyond the streets. This past April, the Deathwish Skateboards pro and 2017 Thrasher SOTY, Foy was announced as the elected Athlete Representative for skateboarding to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOCP)—a major responsibility passed on to the perfect person.
For Foy, priority number one is to have fun. The reason why any of us ride skateboards is for just that, and Foy is excited to help keep that same focus applied to how contests function for the people that are actually in them. With his background of coming up through the competition scene in Florida, Foy knows the contest ways better than most. Considering the impact the Olympics has already had on skateboard contests in recent years, it’s great to know there is an ambassador such as Foy to keep it real.
So, what’s the plan? Well, with COVID-19 bringing the globe to a screeching halt and pushing the Olympics to postpone by a year, Foy has had time to hit up the homies and discuss what they’d like to address once things get back to grinding. Although he is still learning the ropes of the role, Foy is excited to get in the thick of things in order to ensure fun for all.
We checked in with Foy to find out how he is handling everything from quarantine and competition motivation to his taking the reins for this first-ever role as an athlete ambassador for skateboarding to the U.S. Olympic Committee. While chatting we found out that he has not only taken this time to reflect on his new title but he’s also been taking advantage of the empty streets to stack clips for future video parts.
Read on for the full scoop from Foy himself.
Congratulations on your two major moves on the Olympic front; being selected for Team USA and then being elected as the representative for skateboarding on the Athlete Advisory Council to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Ah, thank you, so much! I appreciate that. I’m super hyped!
First off, what does it mean to be on Team USA? An honor? An opportunity? Only a title? A new part of your life?
I’m super hyped! It is the first Olympics with skateboarding in it. I am excited that I can represent my country alongside some solid dudes and try to get a medal for our country.
I think it is sick that finally skating is recognized as just as hard or just as accepted as any other sport. That is one of the main things that I’m super hyped about with skating being in the Olympics, I feel like it will be a lot more accepted among people. Maybe after the Olympics [skateboarding] will have one of the biggest booms it has ever had—that would be amazing.
That’s my next question, what about the Olympics is exciting to you? Is it that skateboarding may blow up that much more?
Yeah, that’s what I’m really excited about.
When it first got announced that skating was going to be in the Olympics, I remember it was a controversial topic among the skate industry. There are all types of skating. People are out there just trying to have fun and don’t care for it as anything other than a release. Then, there are people that take it seriously and go to contests. Then, there are people that just love skating in the streets and filming with their friends and putting out content like that.
I think it is cool that it will be more of a normal thing. Trying to get a skatepark in a community that doesn’t have one should be easier. Now it can be seen as a safe place to go to skate, learn, and, you never know, the next Olympian can come out of your neighborhood.
I feel like it will be a more accepted thing and more skaters will come out of it. It’s going to be sick to have people not look down at skaters, saying things like, ‘you need to get rid of that thing when you’re 18 and go to college.’ It is more of a real sport. I am super hyped!
“That’s why I’m really hyped, it was my peers that voted me in. I am really humbled by the feeling that they believe in me and feel like I will stand up for our rights, listen to them, take everything into consideration and try to make it the best experience for everyone.” — Jamie Foy
The idea of changing how people perceive it from not being just a little kid’s toy but an actual career is an interesting way to look at things.
Yeah, exactly. Now people will recognize this as any other sport. If parents can see it as something that their kid really enjoys then they can support it, because who knows what could happen. Maybe more kids will become pro skateboarders, maybe they will even be an Olympian one day.
Let’s use this to segue and talk about your new role as a skateboard representative on the Athlete’s Advisory Council to the USOPC. I’ve read that you were elected. Were you, and by whom? USA teammates, officials? Also, is there a term length?
I’m not sure about the term. Right now I think it is until the Olympics happen, since this is still the build-up for the now 2021 Games, so that is probably when it will be until.
I was elected by my peers. They sent out a survey to everyone that is associated with World Skate and U.S. skateboarding. The surveys were different for each country, but on the U.S. one, it had every skater that has skated in these Olympic qualifiers to represent the USA had their name in an email with a bubble next to it to vote. That’s why I’m really hyped, it was my peers that voted me in. I am really humbled by the feeling that they believe in me and feel like I will stand up for our rights, listen to them, take everything into consideration and try to make it the best experience for everyone.
What are the general responsibilities involved? What’s the purpose of the role?
Pretty much, what I got out of it, I will be able to talk amongst skaters, if they have any problems or concerns they can come to me, let me know, and I’m like the representative for the USA skate team to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
So like, if it is about the way practicing and scheduling, I talk with Josh Friedberg (USA Skateboarding CEO) and the U.S. Olympic Committee. We can try to figure out the best way for us as skaters to be represented in the Olympics and to ensure we all have a good time once it comes down to the Games.
It appears that U.S. has a bit of a heavier involvement with the larger Olympic skateboarding story that is developing. Despite it being governed by World Skate, the U.S. almost seems to be more involved with decision making than other countries, doesn’t it?
Yeah, and I feel like that has a lot to do with skateboarding more or less starting and evolving in the USA, probably. A lot of the main contests, like Street League–where the Olympics will be based on that model of contest– are from here so [World Skate] realizes that [the USA] has the best understanding and maybe the biggest say. But, I would say it is a really good format for everyone. It is really even.
We do our best to keep it even for everybody so that everyone can have a good time. As skaters, contests are contests and all but, our number one thing is having a good time whether it is a contest or not. That is our main priority.
If there was anything you felt needed to be addressed, do you know exactly how to go about doing that right now?
Right now, with the pause [from COVID-19], I haven’t gotten to get entirely into that role, so I’m not 100 percent sure. Once I get to that point, though, I am going to talk to my managers and all of the skaters to get it figured out.
Is there currently anything on your mind that you’ll be bringing up on behalf of skateboarding?
Yeah, we [skaters] have been thinking a little bit since we have this time (due to COVID-19). There are no real problems, but we have been wanting to address practice times. There are a lot of countries, there are a lot of people [skating] for those countries and in these contests; and we want appropriate practice times for everyone.
Some contests have been hard because there are too many people on the course at a time and they are not the biggest courses. Obviously that makes it a little more dangerous, and a little harder to practice. Practicing runs is a big thing because with a bunch of people on the course it is hard to get stuff dialed in. So, that is one thing we have done. We have drawn up little petitions to go to the Olympic Committee or World Skate. That is a little thing that we’ve been doing right now, but that is definitely just the start of it.
In general, how interested are you in the behind-the-scenes action of Olympic skateboarding? There are certainly a lot of moving parts making decisions that will affect skateboarders and competitions. Do you find yourself very interested in that side of what’s happening?
I am always interested in the behind-the-scenes stuff. I like to understand the way things work in general with anything, especially if I am in there doing it. I want to be in the loop to understand everything that is happening. If I need to ask questions, I try to get the answers to understand things. That has really helped me out a lot.
What kind of opportunity is it for you to now be in on behind-the-scenes discussions?
I hope that I can be there and help everything be the best it can be for skaters.
I am kind of a skater that is in the middle of everything. I love going to contests and doing all that, but then at the same time, I love going filming with my friends. It is cool that I can be a representative of the contest and try to make it more appealing. To make people realize that it is not just a contest—it is about a bunch of homies having fun with the opportunity to do a great thing and make some extra money to get more recognition.
It is a big platform. There are people that watch the contests that don’t watch street skating, just like there are people that watch street skating but don’t watch the contests. I feel like it could be beneficial for everybody in the skate community.
Do you think more skateboarders should get involved in what’s happening behind-the-scenes? Why should they? How can they?
I think skaters should get involved. Anytime we as a skate community can get together to make it the best contest we can, it is better for everybody. One mind is not the best. It is better to have two or three, four, five… as many thinking heads as you can get on a subject will benefit everyone.
This is kind of a heavy question, what is something about competitive skateboarding today that you would like to change?
Not regarding Olympics, I’d like to see the professional and amateur contests separated, unlike they are right now.
The Olympics are cool and all, I like the contests, how everyone is together. Obviously, the Olympics are not about everyone being a quote-unquote professional skateboarder, they are about representing for your country and showing what you’ve got. That’s cool. I fully respect that. I love that.
But other contests should be more like how it was back in the day, where there were Pro contests, Am contests, and Open contests. I feel like that was a big thing that we kind of lost a little bit, but after this first Olympics, it could be different.
That is one thing that I would like to see, but I feel like that will happen anyway. I’d love to see more contests in general, because it just gives more people opportunities. Throwing everyone together just minimizes our opportunities and I think it would be cool for more people to get their own shine. How it used to be. You can work your way up and have fun with it.
View this post on Instagram
How are you handling COVID-19 and the Olympics being postponed a year? What are you doing to stay motivated? Are you trying to do anything specific to keep yourself competitive?
So far, not really. For me, with contests, I take a more mellow route. I feel like the best practice is being on your board all the time, not necessarily trying to go to a park and trying to nail tricks over and over.
I have been taking advantage of this time off for video projects that I’ve been wanting to work on. I’ve just been with my filmer. We’re going out and being as safe as possible, but trying to take advantage of the situation and get some footage.
Overall I feel like that helps my contest skating. The more I’m on my board, the more different things I can skate in the streets—translates to more things that I have ready for contests.
Any closing words about this COVID-19 situation in general, and how everyone is more or less stuck in it together?
Everyone do their part! Definitely keep your distance. We are in the tail end of it, though. We just have to finish it out, hope for the best and hopefully, it will all be over soon with things back to how they usually are.