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The Conversation

Local Skateboarder Leads First US Olympic Skateboarding Team to Tokyo

HeimanaReynolds_properrideshop.jpg
Team USA
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This Father’s Day fell on the eve of a big Olympic announcement: the naming of the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team. At the top of that list was 22-year-old Heimana Reynolds from East Honolulu who gave his father the gift of being the dad of an Olympic athlete.

Heimana Reynolds spoke with NBC 7 San Diego's Steven Luke on his podcast "Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo."

"Both my parents were so supportive in everything I do. Like, my dad, I’m pretty sure out of my entire skate career with contests, I think he’s missed one because it was in Qatar and we really couldn’t get him all the way over there, but he’s been there through everything," Heimana Reynolds said.

"He’s been on the deck for every contest, coaching me, supporting me, helping me get there in every way. Big shout out to them."

The 2021 Summer Olympics is the first time that skateboarding will be featured as an Olympic sport. It will have two disciplines: park and street.

Street skateboarders use rails, stairs and other elements you might find skating around a city. Park skaters use skateparks with elements like bowls and ramps to launch themselves in the air and do tricks—Heimana Reynolds is officially listed as a park skater.

The Conversation's Catherine Cruz caught up with Matt Reynolds this week as he and Heimana Reynolds took a break from training in California.

Foreign spectators will not be allowed at the games due to the pandemic, meaning many parents will have to cheer on their kids from afar.

"It's really tough. And I think some of the athletes are minors, too," he said. "So I feel for them. I think they're just allowing the coaches."

The Reynolds family is a skating family. In fact, they own and operate an indoor skatepark and skate school in Honolulu called Proper Rideshop.

"I've been to every competition since this all began when he was 6 years old. I have confidence that he's going to do well and I'm just very, very excited that he made it this far and onto the Olympic team and history is being made," Matt Reynolds said. "And it was a grueling competition the last couple of years leading up to COVID. So I'm just really excited."

Matt Reynolds said he has been told coverage of the skateboarding competition may come at the beginning of the games which start July 23. He also said the athletes will have to leave the country within 48 hours of their last competition.

He said he's looking forward to having his son return home on his way back from Japan.

Another skateboarder with Hawai‘i ties is Jordyn Barratt, who lists her hometown as Haleiwa. Keep a lookout for Heimana Reynolds and Barratt at the upcoming games.

This story aired on The Conversation on June 23, 2021.

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