Best athletes of all time: Tony Hawk

Mazie Carpentier

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Anthony (Tony) Frank Hawk was born on May 12th, 1968, in San Diego, California. At the age of nine, Tony picked up a skateboard for the first time and started shredding towards success. He would go on to become the face of skateboarding for many years to come. 

With no patience for failure, Tony began competing around age eleven with his killer skateboarding skills and daring, fearless personality. At the age of fourteen, he signed with the Powell Peralta professional team and starred in the Bones Brigade videos, which are autobiography chronicles of the unmatched life and times of the primer skate team. The films also included skateboarders Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, and Mike McGill. 

During the eighties and nineties, he continued to dominate skateboarding competitions. He won seventy-three titles and was named the top vert (verical) skater every year from 1984 to 1996. Tony Hawk’s most famous trick was the execution of a 900 at the 1999 X-Games. A 900 is two and a half consecutive revolutions on a vertical ramp. Before Tony, this trick had never been accomplished. 

“When I landed the first 900 at the X-Games, it was just – it was a personal achievement. It was something that I have strived for for years and years and years, and in a lot of ways had given up on it. But I just didn’t think of the resonance that would have,” shared Tony in an interview after he performed the trick. 

Hawk retired from skateboarding around the age of thirty-five, but he has continued to make a name for himself in the skateboard community. He created Blitz and Birdhouse, two skateboard and accessory manufacturing companies. In 1998, he created a children’s skateboard clothing line called Hawk Clothing, and in that same year, he was given a deal with a video game company to construct a skate-themed video game that went viral and is still played today. One of his biggest accomplishments is founding the Tony Hawk Foundation, which is an organization that helps put skateparks in low-income neighborhoods.

Growing up, I always thought that Tony Hawk was the coolest guy on TV. Having a brother who was big into skateboarding as a kid and as a teenager, he was everywhere. His face was in my favorite movies, shows, and in stores. Although Tony hasn’t been professionally skateboarding in recent years, I feel as if he is a great example of the fact that sports don’t have to involve running or a ball. Sports are something that make determined people work hard towards their goals, as Tony did. 

As he once said, “Recognize where your talent lies, work hard on it, and when you reach the top of your profession, don’t forget your roots.” When you understand the true meaning behind this, you will start to better understand life.