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The Latest ASA Women's Division Update.. 2/1/00..

After corresponding via email with Todd Shays of the ASA, he informed me of the reasons for the changes:

First he assured me they've had plenty of feedback to eliminate women's skating from the Pro Tour entirely - Hhhhmm….I wonder…. Cause I heard from a very good source who that could have come from…..
Are the ASA judges or Mark Heineken of Senate worrying about whether the girls are getting more air play then the guys?

2nd, Todd informs me that the average women's comp last year, was between only three skaters - sometimes less, occasionally more.

Maybe this is because the ASA only qualifies one girl pro each year. How do you expect a division to grow?

Many of the old school pros like Tosh Hodson and myself aren't interested in competing anymore. So there are many open spots available. After the finals last year, I can assure you that many people agreed, that more girls should have been invited to turn Pro.

The ASA will continue to qualify girls as Professionals, only if they think that they are good enough to compete with the guys.

I can also assure you, that I am in direct contact with the Executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation. They believe that a women's division is an absolute must...separate competition...etc... Tiger Woods doesn't play against Nancy Lopez. Michael Jordan doesn't play against Sheryl Swoopes...

3rd, the ASA says that there has been a movement afoot, for some time, to have the women skate with the guys. The thinking is that this will push the women to skate better. Fabiola, for example, always skates better against the guys where the level is higher.

I personally don't need a guy to push me to skate better. If Fabiola has hit the ceiling in her competitions, then she should move on to other parts of aggressive inline. Look at Chris Edwards, for instance …. he's producing his own Tour.
Now that's what I call a role model!

The WSF put it in a great way:

"You can't get conned by accepting a premise that playing with guys makes girls better and therefore competitions need to be guys vs. girls......a girl can practice against a guy if she wants...but shouldn't be expected to be pitted against one in competition for money and recognition...
Brilliant- I love this foundation!

A woman emailed me who is an owner of a skate park and has a daughter that skates. This is her letter:

"I think that it is true - competing with the guys would improve the skating skills for the girls .. but isn't that what we do every day at the parks and on the streets?

In other sports, there are always divisions for men and women and I think that is the way it should be in skating also. Without a separate women's division, it may be difficult for women to receive sponsorship and benefits and continue to make a profession out of skating.

It is too bad, that apparently, the guys at ASA are letting their ego's get in the way of this sport. It seems like skaters have been fighting so hard to be recognized and not be discriminated against by other sports representatives and athletes .. only to turn around have a small group of skaters and organizers discriminate against the women skaters.

Skating isn't all about competitions and winning, but everyone likes to have some encouragement and recognition of their achievements. It seems like every year there is a new hurdle for the girls to jump - such as the ASA's rule that they will decide who is good enough to go Pro in the women's division. What a joke!

Please send us more information on the WASN Skate Fest 2000.
Thanks Karma."

Last, the ASA did say that they are not eliminating women from the X-Games or Gravity Games ………"Just going to a unisex format" They said that the best skaters will get a chance to be showcased, both men and women. They also informed me that the other sports like skateboarding and BMX don't even allow women at the top of their Pro divisions.

It's not clear as to whether the girls will have prizes money or awards … the ASA has not yet decided. But ones thing is for sure, the ASA has always pointed out Inline's comparisons with other sports when it comes to the girls. Are the girls supposed to feel like the ASA is doing us a favor by allowing us to compete? And why is the ASA still comparing our sport to other sports?

One thing that I have learned in stepping into the producing field is that, YES, the Action Sports industry still criticizes Aggressive inline. Many big product companies are sponsoring athletes from almost every sport at the X-Games. A few have told me they aren't sponsoring Inline cause they don't think aggressive inline is a hard enough sport. I would hate to think the ASA or its judges have fallen into this arrogance.

Bottom line is that the WASN does not support this decision . We think that they are making a big mistake. I personally see this as a step backwards and not forward. I do not believe that they have put much thought into this. In the past, dealing with the women's issues, I can remember the ASA telling me that they just don't have the time to improve things for the girls.

Well Happy Winter anyway everyone and I would love to hear all your opinions .. and of course contact the ASA if you want more of their facts. shays@asaskate.com or amy@asaskate.com

AND .. if you were at the First Annual All-Women's Skate Festival last summer, and you never received your prizes, Amy is the person to speak with or email over there.

Well it's off to the Winter X-Games with a whole crew from XTREME CENTRAL to see some excellent Ski boarding ... and BIG AIR - and more gossip and news! .. Should be a blast!!
Peace - Kate **

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