2021 TIME100 Next
Edgar Barrera
By Tony Hawk
February 17, 2021 6:55 AM EST

Nyjah Huston has shown that the highly technical skateboarding people experience in video games can be done in real life. His confidence and consistency have made once-in-a-thousand-type tricks a reality—for example, the Caballerial to noseblunt slide to fakie that sent him backward down a steep ledge in San Francisco, winning him his 13th X Games gold in 2020. He has the technical precision of the greatest athletes, in any sport—and I have no doubt that when skateboarding makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer, he’ll be recognized as a top talent.

There’s still an antiquated view of skateboarding out there, that it’s a slacker white kid’s sport for outcasts. But the sport has long transcended that stereotype. Once they see Nyjah perform, people around the world will have a deeper appreciation for the kids they see in skate parks, falling off of ramps and rails over and over and over. They’ll now know what those kids are striving for, what those kids can be. Thanks to Nyjah, they’ll know what’s possible.

Hawk is a professional skateboarder

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