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Skaters head to the AIS for Olympic Camp

24 October 2017

SKATEBOARDING: The Tokyo 2020 Games may be over 1000 days away but some of the nation’s brightest young skateboarders have gotten the chance to begin their path towards Olympic competition at the Australian Institute of Sport over the weekend.

The third Olympic Development Camp gave 12 skaters and three coaches the opportunity to immerse themselves in a high-performance environment that no doubt will help them succeed as they build towards the Olympic debut of the sport in 2020.

Those in attendance were involved in lessons on strength and conditioning, sports psychology, contest strategy and recovery and also were provided some background on the unique nature of an Olympic Games.

“The camps are very beneficial,” Australian Skating legend Renton Millar said.

“Traditionally skaters have been left up to their own devices to learn all the aspects needed to progress their strength and conditioning, nutrition, recovery and how to progress their skills. We are giving them a lot of short cuts and they are eating it up.

“It doesn’t take anything away from the past approach with skateboarding, we still have a lot of fun and encourage creativity.

“The recovery sessions are really popular because every morning these kids are sore from so much skating. We help get them back to their peak faster, and teach them how to get the best out of themselves.

“It has also been great to meet Olympians from other sports and get their perspective. The skaters have been really stoked to meet them.”

The event featured a host of highly rated young skateboarders including 15-year-old World Vert and Australian Bowl-Riding Champion Poppy Olsen, 16-year-old Hayley Wilson and 11-year-old Ethan Copeland who flew back from California to attend the event after placing 6th at the Amateur Pool Party Contest.

“Australia has a depth of talent like not many other countries,” continued Millar.

“The average skater in Australia is really good due to our facilities and our modern culture. Also because surfing is so accepted here and has such a heritage, skateboarding has been recognised as something serous to devote your life to.

“We have some of the best skaters in the world such as Shane O’Neill and we have a wave of young people coming through the ranks like Keegan Palmer, Poppy Olsen and Hayley Wilson.”

The camp was partially funded by the Australian Olympic Committee who is looking to work with the sport to help put in place a high-performance culture to ready our young skateboarding talent for an Olympic campaign.

“We are fortunate to have a great depth of young skateboarding talent coming through the ranks who will be challenging our established superstars for nomination in 2020,” said AOC General Manager of Games Support and Operations Luke Pellegrini.

“These camps help inspire our developing talent to continue to train hard towards Tokyo and beyond.”

Skateboarding, alongside surfing, sport climbing and karate, is one of four new sports to join the Olympic programme in Tokyo. Baseball and Softball return after last appearing at the Athens 2004 Games. 

Matt Bartolo

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