By now, you’ve probably seen that Skateboarding is in the Olympics. The question is, who is going to coach the US skateboarding Olympics team? Is there a Team Manager? What’s the difference?

A Skateboard Coach is fairly uncommon in the industry. There is not much coaching that occurs in skateboarding. I have heard of lessons, but the word coach is not a word that is used in the skateboarding world. After all, who is going to coach you on your style or the line that you’ve picked out?

That’s why the official name for the “Skate Coach” is going to be under the title of “Team Manager”. That makes more sense, right?

The Difference Between a Team Manager and a Coach

Coaching in skateboarding is rare and pretty uncommon. Since it’s an individual sport, most learn from trial and error. Nowadays, you can also learn from YouTube or our skateboarding series, Skateboarding Made Simple. Some do it this way, others take lessons. But being called a skateboarding coach is pretty uncommon.

In other Olympic Sports, such as gymnastics or swimming, the coaches get similar attention to the players themselves. They organize the athletes and instruct them on what to fix in order to score higher. But in skateboarding, each skater has their own style and flow, and only they really know what’s best for them to do.

Coaches have never really been apart of the whole skateboarding industry. Yet in the Olympics and the sports that go along with them, they’re apart of every team. So, they had to find a way to implement something similar to this to keep the proper structure. Someone who’s going to be a leader for the team and take responsibility for them.

As skateboarding coaches may be uncommon, a team manager for skateboarders does exist. There have been some skateboarding events where there is one person that is in charge of getting the team to where they are supposed to be at about the right time.

This is still pretty hard. There have been plenty of times where a skate team is hours late. I hope that they are able to do just that. I don’t want to see anyone miss their Olympics contest because they woke up late. It’s the responsibility of the Team Manager to keep them in check.

The United States Olympics Skateboarding Team Managers

For starters, there are two Team Managers. One for the men’s teams, and one for the women’s teams. The Men’s Team Manager is Mark Waters, and the women’s is Mimi Knoop.

Mark is the executive director of the International Association of Skateboarding Companies. He has been at this position for less than a year, but has been in the skateboarding industry since at least 2001. So, he does have a lot of skateboarding experience under his belt. He has been around for so long he has stories from some of the biggest names in skateboarding when they were just starting.

Mimi is pretty well known and well thought of in the skateboarding community. She’s one of the most accomplished women skaters who has won two silver and three bronze medals in the X-Games. She’s been competing for a very long time, and has become a very well respected woman in the skateboarding industry.

This is going to be an interesting position for both Team Managers. While they’ve both been in the Skateboarding Industry for awhile, this is a new position to put on their resume.

Why Is there a Team Manager at all?

The Olympics is obviously a very organized event. It has to be, it’s the biggest stage for sports in the world. But this presents some interesting challenges with skateboarding, because it’s a very unorganized activity. If you’re not used to the competition circuit, all you do is go out and skate. You think of tricks or lines you want to do and do them until you land it. That’s basically it.

To be very clear, the Team Manager is NOT there to tell the skaters what to do. They’re not there to tell them exactly which line they should do and how they should do it. They’re not there to teach the skaters any tricks. That’s the difference between a Team Manager and a Coach.

As stated above, the coaches in other sports will often get as much exposure as the athletes themselves. Most of the time, they’re previous Olympic athletes and champions. They’re job is to go over routines, point out what the judges are really going to look at and how to really improve. For skateboarding, that’s not how we see it going.

What Do Team Managers Do?

The Team Manager is there as an organizational member. They organize travel, help with the events and basically make sure the skaters are all on time, etc…

They need to be responsible for the skaters and keep everything running as smoothly as possible. That’s really the biggest job for them. That description might not seem like a very intense job, but from hearing from other Team Managers and doing some research, it’s going to be a very big one.

The Olympics has a lot of rules and regulations, most without exceptions. They have to cover all bases, and that means all that responsibility hangs on the Team Manager’s Shoulders.

Who’s Calling All the Shots?

USA Skateboarding is the official governing body behind skateboarding in the United States for the Olympics. They are responsible behind the team, Team Mangers and the events. Funny enough, Tony Hawk is a founding member of the Organization. But, what do they actually do?

In laymans terms, they are recognized by the Olympics and the only organization that can hold the events, pick the skaters and employ the managers.

So, the Team Mangers are part of this Organization and will be convening with them to make sure everything is all setup and is running properly. What does it mean for the skaters?

Well, I’m sure they’re still going to be interacting a lot. Not just from an organization standpoint, but Waters and Knoop will be helping the skaters in any way they need to. And as they’re both skaters themselves, they should be able to help in any way they can.

In Conclusion

Overall, we’re excited to see how this is going to play out. As it’s the first year, all of these interesting problems and situations will come up, but that’s what a good Team Manager is for! And seeing that Waters and Knoop both have their own accomplishments in the sport, we have no doubt they will be able to handle this position.

Do you have other questions about skateboarding in the Olympics? We have several other posts on the subject! We plan on covering the Olympics for some time, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below so we can answer them!

Check out the follow posts below:

Are you just starting out how to skate? Are you hoping to make it to the Olympics some day? Well, you can! Check out Skateboarding Made Simple, our most detailed skateboarding tutorial series. With 7 Volumes, you’ll learn the basic skateboarding tricks, how to ride at a skatepark, skating a mini-ramp and more advanced flatground tricks. You’ll be in the 2024 Olympics in no time!