Tony Hawk: LOS Classic

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This week’s Legends Of Sport Classic features skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, arguably the most recognized action-sports athlete in the world. Tony turned pro at age 14 and would go on to dominate the sport throughout his 17-year career, winning 73 titles with his gravity-defying tricks, including twelve consecutive vert world championship titles. Tony’s massive popularity and influence have helped bring skating into the 21st-century mainstream – the sport made its Olympic debut in Tokyo last year – while maintaining its edge and excitement. Nearly twenty years after retiring from competition, his legacy and influence on the sport is still strong due to his successful business ventures in gaming, fashion apparel, entertainment production and philanthropy. We look back on Tony’s iconic career, from his early childhood to the evolution of the sport and business of skateboarding to creating safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth in his 2019 Legends of Sport episode.

Tony on the different stages of his career: “Stage 1 was definitely into my teens with the success of the 80s. Stage 2 was sort of navigating not making an income with it as a young adult with a child on the way. Stage 3 was having a renewed success through X Games, video games, stuff like that. I’d say this is 4.0. This is me into middle age trying to figure out how to stay in it, maybe stay relevant, but also effective and enjoy it.”

On how he found his crew in skateboarding : “I found my community at the skatepark, even though it was just this ragtag crew of people from all walks of life, different ages and what not, but we shared this common interest and we shared the same sensibilities of sort of do it yourself attitude, punk music, and I just found my crew there. So, once I found that, I wasn’t really worried about fitting in at school anymore. And when the skateparks closed, I got very lucky that my parents moved to a different part of San Diego… near one of the last remaining skateparks of the US in the early 80s, Del Mar Skate Ranch.”

Other topics discussed in this episode:

  • 4:40: Tony recalls his early days skating and love for its freeform nature
  • 8:45: Tony finds inspiration in Stacy Peralta, Bones Brigade team coach and Powell-Peralta Company founder, to start his own business
  • 12:00: Peralta’s “Dogtown and Z-Boys” documentary and the evolution of skating, what skateboarding on the youth circuit was like, Tony’s early endorsement deals and prize money
  • 18:45: How Tony’s dad supported his skateboarding passion and later created the National Skateboarding Association
  • 27:17: Tony reveals the first big trick he created
  • 28:40: Skating vs. fear, Tony watching his kids grow up and take skating risks
  • 33:35: The early 90s: Tony training without competing or making high income, breaking into the skatewear industry with Birdhouse while skating was at a lull
  • 36:48: The role X Games, street skating and Hollywood played in the reemergence of the sport 
  • 39:50: Vert skating vs street skating
  • 44:05: Tony’s late career milestones: landing the 900 in his last year as a pro
  • 46:15: Skating after “retirement” from competition, leading the Boom Boom Huckjam Skate Tour, founding Tony Hawk Pro Skater gaming
  • 48:35: Tony does 50 of his most famous tricks at 50… reflections on overcoming injuries
  • 52:05: Tony’s proudest accomplishments and inspiring change through the Tony Hawk Foundation (now The Skatepark Project
  • 55:33: Tony’s friendship and professional growth with Atiba Jefferson, famed skate photographer and Andy’s good friend
  • 59:55: Tony’s 2019 plans… Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam app, Broadway projects and more

Check out this week’s LOS Classic to learn about the past and future of skateboarding!

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