SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – His name is practically synonymous with skateboarding.
So who better to help open the only Olympic level skate park in all of North America than the legendary Tony Hawk.
“Utah has always been a strong supporter of action sports from the early days” the 51-year-old Hawk said. “I used to come here in the early 90’s because there was an indoor skate park here, one of the very few in the U.S. Now we’ve come of age with a state of the art facility.”
When Hawk grew up as a skater, he couldn’t imagine that it would eventually develop into an Olympic sport. Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in the Tokyo Games in 2020.
But Hawk said he is thrilled the entire world has embraced the sport he loves, even though it didn’t start off that way.
“I didn’t want skateboarding to be a crime,” he said. “It just was because of the liability and vandalism. I loved the fact that we were doing something unique and kind of counter-culture, and [the Olympics] wasn’t our goal. It has become such a strong discipline, that it is an Olympic sport. So, when people ask me, are you surprised that skateboarding has come this far, not really. I feel like it’s about time.”
20 years ago, Hawk was the first skater to land a 900. Now, he says there is no limit to the tricks these athletes can pull off.
“I’ve been skating 40 years, and I see it continue to evolve, even to this day,” said Hawk, who hit the course himself and signed autographs for plenty of adoring skaters on Tuesday. “So, I don’t want to say there is a limit. Is there a limit to what humans can achieve is more the question.”
The first major event at the new skate park will be held Friday and Saturday as the Vans Park Series World Championships will be held Saturday at 12:00 p.m.