COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Skateboarding is among several first-time Olympic sports at the Tokyo games this summer.
With a pair of events already complete, and two more still to come this week, a new era of Olympic competition has a new generation of kids watching.
“You have a board, you have a skate park, there’s no limits,” says Jules Higgins, a 12-year-old skateboarder.
For Jules, skateboarding is a world of endless possibilities.
“There’s so much freedom in skateboarding. There are no rules you have to listen to or anything like that. And it’s really cool because you can do anything,” Jules encourages.
For the first time ever, the possibilities include those who dream of one-day becoming an Olympic athlete.
“It is so awesome. Because the Olympics have been around for so long and skateboarding as never really been a part of it, and it’s so cool,” says Jules of the first-time events already in the books and those still to come.
Three teenagers reached the podium in the first-ever Women’s Street Final last week, while just 20-year-old American Jagger Eaton took home the bronze medal in the inaugural Men’s Street Final as well — producing a pair of the youngest podium’s at the Olympics.
For skateboarders of all races, ages, and genders, the Olympics are highlighting on the world’s stage what the athletes say makes the sport so great.
“There’s so much diversity in skateboarding, and anyone can do it. Anyone can do it,” Jules promotes.
“It’s a great community, everybody looks out for one another, everybody likes to encourage each other,” adds Chris Higgins, a skateboarding instructor.
For the Higgins family, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — Jules’ dad Chris taught him about skateboarding from the age of one.
A longtime skateboarder, Chris now spends time teaching the youth in his community.
“Once you practice this sport, once you work at it, you realize how difficult it is,” Higgins describes.
The Olympics are already inspiring a new generation of skateboarders.
“They’re very excited to see it. They’re very excited to see the Sky Brown’s, such an inspiration to little girls,” Higgins adds.
For some of the sport’s especially young participants, they’re already following in the footsteps of the role models in their own lives.
“I kind of wanted to skateboard like my friends,” admits 7-year-old Elenore Peebles.
“I got inspired by my brother,” adds Leo Garcia, who is only 8 years old.
And helping teach life skills like determination and perseverance, there’s a new lesson behind each kick, flip, and trick.
“When you fall, you just get right back up,” says Peebles of the challenges that come with skateboarding.
“You’ll land that trick, and you really feel great and have a sense of accomplishment. And for kids it can transfer into anything they want to do,” adds Chris Higgins, who encourages his students to take the same mentality into their classrooms and home lives.
Olympic skateboarding competition continues this week with the Women’s Park Final being held on Wednesday, August 4th, and the Men’s Park Final taking place on Thursday, August 5th.