LOS ANGELES >> Two Hawaii athletes were among the 12 members of the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team that was unveiled Monday.
Heimana Reynolds, a 2017 Mid-Pacific graduate, and Jordyn Barratt, who was born in Dallas but calls Haleiwa her hometown, will head to next month’s Tokyo Olympics.
After their introduction, the members stepped on their boards and skated through a corridor of tall American flags in a joyful pack, headed toward an outdoor stage to meet the world together.
It was an appropriate introduction for a bunch of world-class skaters who will represent the best aspects of this American-born sport in Tokyo: no leaders, no followers — and plenty of love and support for the whole crew.
“I don’t know if any of us imagined we would ever be up here getting ready to skate in the Olympics,” said Nyjah Huston, the five-time world champion and California native recognized as the highest-paid skater in the sport’s history. “But we’ve all been working for this from a young age, even before it was possible.”
Huston is the most famous face among the 12 who range from smiling teenagers to accomplished 30-somethings of different races, sexual orientations and gender identifications. They’ve all competed at their sport’s highest level, and they’re all eager to perform when competition gets underway July 25 at Ariake Urban Sports Park.
Huston is joined by Jagger Eaton and Jake Ilardi on the men’s street team, while Mariah Duran is teamed with Alexis Sablone and Alana Smith in the women’s street competition. Barratt, Bryce Wettstein and Brighton Zeuner are the U.S. women’s park team, while Reynolds, Zion Wright and Cory Juneau comprise the men’s park team.
The group was appropriately unveiled in Southern California, where the sport was invented roughly 70 years ago in the parks, streets, plazas and empty swimming pools of 20th-century America’s sunshine wonderland.