With the UCI coming under fire from pro teams, influential director sportifs, and many companies in the bike industry for the handling of the ‘Approved by UCI’ stickering program, the organisation’s president can at least seek solace in the arms of…skate-boarding.
Back in 2005, BikeBiz.com took a petition to the UCI HQ in Switzerland to try and influence the organisation to drop a cull of the kilo from the roster of Olympic cycling events. President-in-waiting Pat McQuaid accepted the petition but said the cull decision was IOC’s to take, not the UCI’s. This was quickly denied by the IOC. The kilo was soon thereafter killed by the UCI despite it being a blue-riband event and one of the original cycle events in the Olympics.
At the same meeting, McQuaid said he wanted the Union Cyclisme Internationale to represent other sports, such as freestyle BMX and not just cycling. He said he was keen to represent roller-blading and skateboarding and other "wheeled sports" but also intimated the push for inclusion was coming from the IOC. Like former UCI president Hein Verbruggen, McQuaid now sits on the board of the IOC.
Back in 2007 the plan for the UCI to take skate-boarding under its wing fell through but now McQuaid has revealed he wants to resurrect the idea. He told the BBC:
"We’re discussing bringing in BMX freestyle and even skateboarding.
"The International Olympic Committee recognise they need to have events in the Olympic programme that bring kids into sport," said McQuaid.
"Discussions [related to BMX freestyle and skateboarding] are ongoing. I hope they come to fruition and we see those disciplines in the Olympic Games. It’d be wonderful for young kids to see events they can aim for in the Olympics.
"This is at an early stage and there is quite a lot to discuss, but from initial discussions with [IOC president] Jacques Rogge and others it’s very positive."
The BBC described the UCI as "one of Olympic sport’s most powerful governing bodies."
McQuaid said freestyle BMX and skateboarding are "all related to wheels, they’re all related to bikes as such, and from that point of view cycling is the sport that can bring those disciplines in."
McQuaid said he hopes to introduce skateboarding without cycling losing any other events from its Olympic schedule.
As the UCI likes to create tech rules for sports and its dependent industries to follow, no doubt skateboarding companies can soon look forward to a Lugano-style charter for decks and wheels. And jeans and skate shoes: the UCI has already said it plans to roll-out its ‘Approved by UCI’ stickers for cycling clothing, so can skateboard clothing stickers be far behind?