SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Fairpark will play host to the 2019 Vans Park Series Pro Tour World Championships later this week at a new skatepark in the area.
On Tuesday, the Utah Sports Commission Skatepark was officially unveiled and those in attendance included Utah Governor Gary Herbert and skate legend Tony Hawk.
“What you now have here in Salt Lake City it’s a hybrid of different bowls, but street elements,” says Tony Hawk. “It has become such a strong discipline that it is an Olympic sport, that it is an Olympic discipline.”
The donation to the Salt Lake community comes from a partnership between Vans, which built the facility, and the Utah Sports Commission.
“There always has been a strong skate scene in Salt Lake City,” Hawk explains. “I was coming in the ’90s, there was a very dirty warehouse skatepark here, we would go there and then we would go snowboarding at Park City, because it was one of the few places that allowed snowboarding.”
The local skatepark is one of three new parks donated by the Vans Park Series. The other two are in Montreal and Paris.
This is the first time that the World Championships are being hosted in the United States.
In both 2018 and 2017 the event was held in China, while in 2016 it took place in Sweden.
The Vans Park Series operates on a five-month schedule. Previous stops this year include China, Brazil, Canada and France.
Attendance is free and open to the public for the World Championships on September 6 and 7. This is the final event on the 2019 Vans Park Series calendar.
The event comes in anticipation of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where skateboarding is being added as a new sport.
“When people ask me, ‘Are you surprised that skateboarding has come this far?’ not really,” Hawk explains. “I feel like it’s about time, it’s as valid as any other sport.”
In next year’s Olympic games it will have two classifications: park skating and street skating.
Another topic at the event was the 20th anniversary of video game Tony Hawk Pro Skater, which was first released in August 1999.
The game was immensely popular on systems like Nintendo and the original PlayStation. Additionally, it served to inspire countless young skaters.
“A lot of people you’ll see actually at this event probably started skating because of the game, I’m not exaggerating when I say that,” he explains. “I hear a lot of pro’s say that’s what got me into skating.”
More information on the event can be found here.
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