Over the next several weeks, elite skateboarders like Nyjah Huston will be showcasing the athleticism and sheer fun of their sport on a global stage, at the Tokyo Olympics. And they’ll be doing so in front of the godfather of the sport himself, Tony Hawk, who is present at the Games to commentate on the skateboarding events.
But Hawk isn’t content to simply sit and offer up punditry from the sidelines. He and fellow announcer Paul Zitzer recently “barged” the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo where the Japanese and American men’s teams were finishing off their street practice, and showed some of the younger athletes exactly how it’s done.
In an Instagram post which includes footage of Hawk’s visit to the park, and which has had more than 1.6 million views in the last two days, he spoke about what it means to him personally that as of 2016, skateboarding is now officially an Olympic sport.
“As a kid that was mostly lambasted for my interest in skateboarding, I never imagined it would be part of the Olympic Games,” Hawk wrote. “It’s surreal to now be in Tokyo bearing witness to this milestone in the most unprecedented circumstances. I know in the end it will help to grow skateboarding’s profile internationally, exposing our passion to an audience that has never seen it before or simply refused to embrace it. A whole new generation will get to experience skateboarding with genuine public support and meaningful opportunity. I predict it will be one of the highlights from all of the Olympic Games coverage this year. And I’m here for it.”
A post shared by Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk)
Given Hawk’s stature within the skateboarding community, his presence at the Games is one more step towards a greater appreciation of the sport, and several of this year’s Olympic skateboarding hopefuls expressed their gratitude and respect in the comments. “Arigato,” wrote Yuto Horigome from Team Japan, while France’s Vincent Milou called Hawk a “legend.” Team USA’s own Nyjah Huston, meanwhile, simply said to his hero: “Hell ya Tony.”
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