Luca Basilico - INTERview
Luca Basilico 45 years old from Milan Italy, have one of skateboardings hardest and most controversial jobs. He works at World Skate and making sure skateboardings introduction to Olympic Games comes as smooth and good as possible. Not an easy task, but Luca does a great job dealing with all different opinions and ideas regarding skateboardings new status as an olympic sport.
Do a short description about your skate career. Sponsors, jobs etc up to today?
I started skating in 1989 and it’s been non stop since then. I mostly had national sponsors from 1992 to 2007 or so, which is when I actually stopped bothering. From then it’s been just skating and trying to progress in a more “private way”. I always loved to get in the mix and organize stuff, when I saw there was a need for it and so it was for me working in skateboarding. I began messing around with skateboarding jobs in 1997 and since then I have spaced between most of what is possible to do in our scene: Magazine publisher, competition organizer, team manager, ecommerce retail, running a skate company, distribution, TV commentator, National Federation Manager… Basically I always sought and found a way to stay within skateboarding without having to find a “real job”.
What is World skate? When did it get founded and why?
World Skate is an International Sport Federation Recognized by the International Olympic Committee. It was founded nearly 100 years ago to govern Roller Hockey and evolved from there really gradually to expand governance and the related competences to other Roller Sport and at some point to Skateboarding. This happened in a really natural way: having experts of each sport running and making decisions for their sport.
Describe your job at World skate? Who else works there? Where is headquarters?
I am not too much of an expert on corporate job titles, and frankly I don’t bother at all. But I guess I can be considered the Skateboarding Director. So to say I am managing managers and thus coordinating the overall work that World Skate does in Skateboarding. I report to the President of World Skate. Also part of the SB management we have Martin Karas, Jeff Landi and Matt Milligan which are all skaters you might be familiar with. Martin is taking care of competition direction and judging, Jeff is in charge of SB communication and Matt just joined forces and will back our effort in developing Judging, future competition formats as well as support the creation of the world skateboarding tour. Beyond the core group of the SB management, which will grow further in the next months, we have over 15 staffers working at World Skate making sure things are happening. In addition to the employees and contributors, more Skateboarders are part of the commissions and working group. Examples of them can be found in the Judging Commission, the Athletes Commission, Vert Skateboarding working group, the Downhill working group and the Gender Equality Commission. More will follow up.
What has been the hardest part of starting up World skate?
Well I can’t relate to what happened 100 years ago, but I can say which one has been the biggest challenge since I started working for World Skate, which is back in 2017 roughly 6 months after SB inclusion into the Tokyo Games. What is the hardest part of this job? In a nutshell I can point at two things: trying to make everyone happy and dealing with politics. The world of organized sports works in a really different way than an industry led scene, and it takes time to understand it. I am learning and overall I think it’s working out from a Skateboarding perspective.
3 good things about skateboarding in the Olympics?
More people into skateboarding, more opportunities for skateboarders, more chances for skateboarding culture to influence mass culture and change our society for the better.
3 bad things about skateboarding in the Olympics?
Parents pushing kids to become the next baby wonder. FOR SURE This has not been created by the Olympics, but the growth of skateboarding into an Olympic Sport is providing a new stage for this phenomenon to develop.
Will the Olympics happen in 2021? What could stop it?
So far I would say yes. How? I don’t know yet. Of course COVID-19 pandemic further spread is the only thing that could stop the games from happening. As of now organization works and risk mitigation adjustments are progressing really well, I am positive that Skateboarding will effectively debut in Olympic games next July.
Top 3 favourite skateboarder?
Auch, that is a hard one and it’s alway been a moving target to me. Let’s go with the OG: Jeremy Wray, Colin McKay, Marc Johnson.
All Apologies” Strange Skateboards (2003)
Skateboarding just got included in Paris 2024. What will be different? Any new disciplines?
Same disciplines. We’ll have a couple of more athletes per event, Skateparks will be temporary and sit in the heart of Paris, in Place de la concorde. For sure we’ll have a conversation with Athletes and other key stakeholders, on how to update and improve the competition formats.
What will World Skate do in between Olympics? Contest, series, etc?
We’ll keep sanctioning official events that are going to contribute to World Skateboarding Ranking point accrual. We have multiple ongoing conversations with host cities willing to be part of the circuit, unfortunately the pandemic it’s making it hard to solidify calendars, but no question asked: World Skate events are here to stay. With Tokyo2020 being pushed to 2021 we’ll just have one year (2022) before the start of the Paris 2024 qualification season: January 2023. This means that 2022 events will be key to set the seeding for the Paris 2024 qualification season.
Predictions? Who wins olympics 2021 street, park men and women?
Mmmh I guess I can’t…. :DDD
World Skate thoughts about skateparks? Any standards coming?
The discipline of skatepark design must reflect the characteristics of great Skateboarding: unique, inspiring, personal, funny. The World Skate certification standard is on his way and will leverage the power of the IF to grant the above. No cookie cutter skatepark design will ever be imposed or even suggested, we want to multiply the chances for everyone in the world to get premium quality Skateparks by following the right process to get to this goal.
Describe your board set up?
I always skated everything with no specific preference for any terrain. My skateboard reflects that IMO. 8.25” deck with full nose and tail, mellow concave with a “light” tail kick. Indies. 53mm wheels standard section.
Any last words?
“We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dreams” that always resonated with me.