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When most people think of a specific sport, inevitably they tend to also picture a few athletes who compete in it at the highest level. But few, if any, athletes are as synonymous with their sport as today’s guest Tony Hawk is with skateboarding.
In this special holiday episode of Bobby & Jens, co-hosts Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt take a slight detour from their regular schedule of pro cyclists to sit down with the famed skateboarder who, although limited when it comes to experience with cycling, has plenty of insight to share about being a professional athlete, and has lived a fascinating life along the way.
Growing up, skateboarding wasn’t Tony’s first or only sport. However, by age 10 he had fallen in love with it. “When I saw people flying out of swimming pools, I was hooked,” he remembers. Just a few years later he turned pro, though the sport then was a far cry from what it has become today. “There was just no money in it.”
Cyclists will find Tony’s passion and focus on his sport—he has spent years trying to land certain tricks before—familiar. He talks about his evolving relationship with skateboarding, which he continues to do even now at age 53, and what has kept him on the board, as well as the events that have made him rethink how hard he should push himself.
And in those 40-plus years, skateboarding has grown right alongside Tony. He talks about being there to witness the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, sealing its rise from the anti-establishment sport of his youth to something with international legitimacy.
Tony also works hard to give more kids the opportunity to discover skateboarding through The Skatepark Project, formerly The Tony Hawk Foundation, which has helped give away over $10 million and open over 700 skateparks. It’s an especially crucial organization because communities so often ban skating in most areas without providing any place for it. “It’s a place of belonging” says Tony of skateparks.
Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every week. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.