16 named to inaugural U.S. skateboarding team…
and two are from our hometown are going to the Tokyo Olympics
Adding legitimacy to skateboarding? The US governing body has a whole new role.Today they announced the new US National team alongside companies like Toyota and Nike. Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. The 16 skaters were chosen based on performance during international level contests in 2018. USA Skateboarding became the 50th National Governing Body (NGB). It is recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and was named responsible for the selecting and training, the U.S. national teams to compete in the Olympics, Pan American Games, and other future sanctioned team events.
Josh Friedberg, CEO of USA Skateboarding explains, “Skateboarding grew up outside of the Olympic structure. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a culture, it’s about finding freedom of expression. All these things are why the IOC wanted skateboarding in the Olympic Games in the first place. “Olympic inclusion is a historic moment for any sport. The U.S. is where skateboarding came from. The chance to name the first USA skateboarding national team today and share that with the world and celebrate these skaters for their abilities and help them along their path to qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, we couldn’t be more excited. It’s an incredible, historic moment in the history of skateboarding. We couldn’t be more excited to finally take the wraps off the first-ever USA Skateboarding National Team. We’re honored to have partners like Toyota and Nike that understand the intrinsic value of the sport we love and appreciate all they’ve done to get USA Skateboarding up and running. It’s a historic moment in the history of skateboarding, and we’re looking forward to doing all we can to support these amazing skateboarders on their Road to Tokyo.”
Being on the US National team is not an immediate ticket to Tokyo. Skaters will have to qualify for the Olympics based on their three best scores in World Skate sanctioned events during the 2019 qualifying season. These scores will be combined with their six best results during the 2020 qualifying season. The top 12 will then head to Tokyo.
The disciplines are street and park and the national team is as follows:
- Nyjah Huston, of Laguna Beach, California
- Chris Joslin of Hawaiian Gardens, California
- Jagger Eaton of Mesa, Arizona
- Louie Lopez of Hawthorne, California
- Tom Schaar, of Encinitas, California (the first skater to land a 1080)
- Alex Sorgente of Lake Worth, Florida
- Tristan Rennie of Rialto, California
- Zion Wright of Jupiter, Florida
- Brighton Zeuner, Encinitas, California (youngest gold medalist in X Games history)
- Bryce Wettstein of Encinitas
- Jordyn Barratt of Haleiwa, Hawaii
- Nicole Hause of Stillwater, Minnesota
- Alexis Sablone of Old Saybrook, Connecticut
- Jenn Soto of Jersey City, New Jersey
- Lacey Baker of Covina, California
- Mariah Duran of Albuquerque, New Mexico
What the skaters are saying about the Olympics
Huston, 24, was the first skater to win $1 million in contest prize money, and he has won a lot more since then.
“I’m obviously happy it’s in here at this time, and I’m like honored to be able to have a chance to skate the first one. But if it was me, I would have thought it would have been in at least one or two Olympics ago, just because there are so many kids out there skating such a diverse sport, all around the world kids are doing it,” Huston said. “But at least it’s in there now.”
Huston likes his chance to make the Olympic team, which will be announced in May 2020.
“I feel like I’m in a good place, and I’m definitely confident to be there supporting my country,” he said. “Obviously, there’s only one goal, and that’s to win. No matter if it’s the Olympics or any other contest I’m normally skating, I’m always there to do my best to win.”
“Now it’s like perfect timing for everyone to be a part of the whole Olympic thing,” Zeuner said. “We used to compete in little contests, so I think it’s great experience and opportunity to be part of it.
Snowboarding superstar Shaun White, a three-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, has expressed interest in skating in the Summer Games.
“Shaun’s a real interesting case,” Friedberg said. “He’s an amazing skateboarder; obviously, he’s an even more amazing snowboarder. He’s expressed interest to compete in skateboarding in Tokyo. I know he’s been practicing and skating a lot more on that mission right now.
“The park discipline doesn’t necessarily line up with his strength in skateboarding, which is vert skating, but you never count a person like Shaun White out. He is the ultimate competitor. So, if there’s anybody who could get it together and qualify for the Olympics, Shaun could potentially do that.”
Park is a set of combined concrete bowls that have different featured obstacles, such as banks and rails, and some elements of vert.
“Park is relatively new to contests,” Schaar said. “It’s different than street. It’s a lot more transition, you’re going a lot faster and you have to kind of flow and connect your tricks together pretty well. But I think it’s a lot of fun. You can be really creative and do a lot of different things with it.”
Schaar, 19, said the road to the Olympics is “going to be a challenge, but I’m up for it and it should be a fun adventure.”
Street courses include obstacles that can be found in any urban environment, such as stairs, rails, benches, ledges and banks.
Big congrats to Alex Sorgente and Zion Wright!
Looking forward to USA 2020 for Gold at the Toyko Olympic Games
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