VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Nyjah Huston, Brighton Zeuner and Tom Schaar were among the 16 members of the inaugural U.S. national skateboarding team announced Tuesday, less than two years before the sport makes its Olympic debut with mens’ and women’s park and street disciplines.
The 16 skaters qualified based on their performances in international-level events during the previous year and will receive support from USA Skateboarding while they attempt to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Huston, of Laguna Beach, who has dominated Street League Skateboarding, is joined by fellow street skaters Chris Joslin of Hawaiian Gardens, Jagger Eaton of Mesa, Arizona, and Louie Lopez of Hawthorne. Schaar, of Encinitas, the first skater to land a 1080, is joined by fellow park skaters Alex Sorgente of Lake Worth, Florida, Tristan Rennie of Rialto and Zion Wright of Jupiter, Florida.
“It’s an honor,” the 24-year-old Huston said. “Obviously it took a lot of hard work to get here. When I think of skating in the Olympics, I just think of it being a long time coming.”
Zeuner, 14, of Encinitas, is the youngest gold medalist in X Games history. She skates park, along with Bryce Wettstein of Encinitas, Jordyn Barratt of Haleiwa, Hawaii, and Nicole Hause of Stillwater, Minnesota. The women’s street skaters are Alexis Sablone of Old Saybrook, Connecticut; Jenn Soto of Jersey City, New Jersey; Lacey Baker of Covina and Mariah Duran of Albuquerque.
Skateboarders will have the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics based on their three best results in World Skate sanctioned events during the 2019 qualifying season, combined with their six best results during the 2020 qualifying season. A maximum of 12 American athletes can qualify for the Olympics.
Skaters not on the U.S. team can qualify on their own merit. Snowboarding superstar Shaun White, a three-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, has expressed interest in skating in the Summer Games.
“I know he’s been practicing and skating a lot more on that mission right now,” said Josh Friedberg, CEO of USA Skateboarding. “The park discipline doesn’t necessarily line up with his strength in skateboarding, which is vert skating, but you never count a person like Shaun White out. He is the ultimate competitor. So if there’s anybody who could get it together and qualify for the Olympics, Shaun could potentially do that.”
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