He has hosted Justin Bieber at his private skate park and guest-starred reverse Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the TV present Ballers. Now Nyjah Huston is aiming to turn out to be an Olympic champion as skateboarding makes its debut in Tokyo.

Medals are on supply in two disciplines at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. In avenue, rivals skate on out of doors furnishings and obstacles similar to handrails, benches and stairs. Park options lofty tips in steep-sided bowls.

A formidable competitor in a mellow sport, Huston is the favorite to take gold in avenue and add to a fame and report haul of victories that has introduced him wealth and movie star standing. With six world titles and 12 X Games wins, the trophy room in the 26-year-old’s ocean-facing Laguna Beach mansion is jammed.

Nor is there a lot room left on his pores and skin, which is virtually totally coated in tattoos. Among the eclectic physique artwork: the Grim Reaper, a lion’s cranium, a pineapple, a ferret on a skateboard, a tombstone that reads “see ya soon”, and a waffle. “What can I say?” he told GQ. “I love waffles.”

He has taken a extra targeted strategy to his profession, training with obsessive self-discipline since the age of 5, mastering tips one after the other. He had a sponsorship deal aged seven. By 10 he was profitable notable contests; he turned skilled at 11.

“I don’t know if any of us imagined we would ever be up here getting ready to skate in the Olympics,” he told reporters earlier than heading to Tokyo. “But we’ve all been working for this from a young age, even before it was possible.”

Born in Davis, California, Huston was raised as a vegan by Rastafarian mother and father. “Our father got us into skating and built us many ramps around our yard. My parents bought an indoor skatepark in 2003 that was a perfect training facility for me,” he told NBC.

He partly grew up in Fiji and on a farm in Puerto Rico, the place the household lived off the proceeds of marijuana gross sales, his mom, Kelle, told Jenkem magazine. “We purposely separated ourselves from society and basically lived as a mini cult,” she mentioned.

It was not the perfect atmosphere to develop his abilities, so he returned to California to additional his ambitions. “My success as a young athlete contributed to major disagreements between my parents and my mom had to make the ultimate decision to leave. Unfortunately, my father is no longer involved with us or my career,” he advised NBC.

It’s straightforward to see why the organisers would welcome the participation of an athlete with 4.7 million followers on Instagram as they give the impression of being to broaden the attraction of the Olympics and attempt to draw a younger viewers.

Still, some purists may lament {that a} sport with counter-cultural roots and a rebellious spirit has joined the institution and fret that the strain to reach such a high-stakes competitors might corrode skateboarding’s tranquil vibe.

But the incursion of massive company cash is hardly new – in any case, Nike are amongst Huston’s sponsors and he promotes collections of sneakers and sun shades. He launched his personal model, Disorder Skateboards, final month, simply in time for Tokyo. And the unparalleled attain of the Olympics affords alternatives for wider progress.

Skateboarding’s most well-known identify, Tony Hawk, is in Japan as a tv analyst. “As a kid that was mostly lambasted for my interest in skateboarding, I never imagined it would be part of the Olympic Games. It’s surreal to now be in Tokyo bearing witness to this milestone in the most unprecedented circumstances,” the 53-year-old wrote.

“I know in the end it will help to grow skateboarding’s profile internationally, exposing our passion to an audience that has never seen it before or simply refused to embrace it. A whole new generation will get to experience skateboarding with genuine public support and meaningful opportunity.”

Canadian skater Micky Papa, aged 30, is competing in the males’s avenue contest, which takes place on Sunday; the ladies’s occasion is a day later, whereas the park competitions are on 4-5 August.

“I want to speak to any of the younger skaters who might be like, ‘Oh, the Olympics is wack’. I was listening to a business podcast the other day and they were talking about coffee shops. The main one is Starbucks, and that’s like the Olympics – everybody knows Starbucks and everybody knows the Olympics,” he advised reporters this week.

“Now, Starbucks attracts so many people who get their first exposure to coffee culture there, but from there they can go on to explore other sides of the culture – your local corner store coffee shops or different ways of brewing coffee, which would be like real street skating or different kinds of contests, or other different parts of skateboarding culture that people would like to explore.

“Without that mainstream exposure we’ll always be small. I think what we have in skateboarding is so great that we should be able to share it with the entire world, and if this is the way we do it, then this is the way that we do it, because this is the biggest stage there is.” And there is no greater presence than Huston; nobody higher at shaping grinds into glory.