Tony Hawk samples Tokyo skatepark ahead of skateboarding’s ‘surreal’ Olympic debut

by AFP

TOKYO – Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk enjoyed a short session in the Tokyo Olympic skatepark on Thursday ahead of the sport’s debut at the Games.

The 53-year-old, working in Japan as an analyst for NBC, skated on the sidelines of the Japanese and American teams’ training sessions.

Hawk, who was the first skateboarder to pull off a 900 (two and a half turns mid-air) in 1999, posted a video of his efforts on social media.

“As a kid that was mostly lambasted for my interest in skateboarding, I never imagined it would be part of the Olympic Games,” the 10-time X Games champion said.

“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.”

Skateboarding is one of four sports set to feature for the first time at the 2020 Olympics, alongside karate, sport climbing and surfing.

Hawk, who was the face of a popular video game series, recently took part in the X Games for the first time since 2003, finishing fourth in the Vert Best Trick competition.

“I predict it will be one of the highlights from all of the Olympic Games coverage this year,” he added.

The skateboarding gets underway with the men’s street competition on Sunday.