Back in February, Chloe Kim entered the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as “The Future of Snowboarding.” It turned out calling her the future sold her short, as Kim came out of those games with a gold medal. Fast forward to today and the Summer X Games are here, and with women’s skateboarding set to make its debut at the Summer Olympics in 2020, a few more young women hope to establish themselves as the sport’s version of Kim.
While women’s skateboarding won’t debut in the Olympics for two more years, it has a long history at the highest level of extreme sports competitions as it first appeared as an X Games event in 2002. One year later, Mimi Knoop competed in her first X Games, and after a decorated career, she is now the creative director for women’s skateboarding at the event.
“I originally was an actual competitor and was competing myself for several years,” Knoop told Uproxx Sports. “And then we ended up starting to run our own events around 2005, 2006. Since then, that’s what I’ve been doing. So I stepped out of the competition ring and then more into the behind-the-scenes work. ”
Knoop went from skating in parks to picking which parks female skaters would ride in when she formed The Alliance in 2006 with Cara-Beth Burnside and Drew Mearns. The Alliance has worked on putting together women’s skateboarding events for the X Games, as well as other skating events like the Mountain Dew Tour. Some of the core tenants of The Alliance are making sure that women get equal pay for competing while making sure that the selection of the skaters remains inclusive.
“I have an organization that puts together a couple selection committees, and those selection committees are women from all around the world that have their finger on the pulse of their local scenes,” Knoop says. “What we do is we put together the lists of the skaters that end up being invited to X Games, and then they all vote on it, and we keep it super democratic and try to make sure that the best of the best are featured.”