For the first time in Olympic history, skateboarding will join the list of sports at Tokyo 2021. Team USA will compete in two styles: street and park.
“Street is more of things you'll find when you're walking down from buildings, like staircases, rails, or more asphalt things, things that mankind doesn't have to tweak so much,” says Bryce Wettstein, a 17-year-old Team USA member from Encinitas. “In park, you have to be a little bit more innovative. Things spawn upon one another, kind of like you're on a surfboard.”
Six women skaters are competing in park, including Wettstein and two of her close friends from Encinitas — Brighton Zeuner and Jordyn Barratt.
“We are all disciples of skateboarding,” says Wettstein. “It's part of who we are so deep down at the most cavernous parts of us, and we've grown up with each other for so long. I mean, it almost seems like they've just been part of my family.”
She’s grateful to share the Tokyo experience with them, especially since fans won’t be allowed at this year’s games. In fact, competing at the Olympics sans spectators could make her a better skater.
“Not having an audience is sort of like performing in front of your stuffed animals,” she says. “Maybe this is blissful, in a way. Maybe we were destined to have this moment on one of the biggest stages in the world.”
When she gets back from the games, she’ll head to another battleground: her senior year of high school.