White Rock skateboarder Andy Anderson is heading to the Olympics, after qualifying late last month at an event in Des Moines, Iowa.
In what was his last chance to qualify for the Tokyo-hosted Games this summer, the 25-year-old skateboarder needed to finish inside the top-16 at the park event in Des Moines – the qualifier was part of The Dew Tour – and his previous best had been 24th. To make matters worse, he had to do so with a significant leg injury, after suffering a fall during a practice run.
The injury turned out to be a torn meniscus, and any further falls in competition could have done serious long-term damage to his leg. But perhaps befitting of someone who has at times lived out of a converted ambulance – in the spring of 2019 he lived in the vehicle while training in Venice Beach, Calif. – the injury didn’t dissuade him.
As long as he didn’t fall, he’d be fine.
What followed were two flawless runs through the competition, and even included a aerial heel-flip lean air – a trick that Anderson had been working on for more than a month, but never been able to land consistently.
The performance was enough to earn Anderson one of 20 coveted spots at the Olympics. He’ll be the only Canadian in the park skateboarding field.
He’s expected to recover from his knee injury in time for the competition.
Though Anderson could not be reached for comment, shortly after he turned pro in 2019 he told Peace Arch News that skateboarding for a living – while still trying to qualify for the Olympics, which will include the sport for the first time – has been his dream for as long as he could remember.
“It’s literally what I wanted to do since I was a little kid. It’s just sick to not have let go of that dream and it came true,” Anderson said.
Last February, Anderson was among 12 skateboarders named to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team.
At the time of the announcement, Canada Skateboard president Benjamin Stoddard said, “this group of talented, young skaters share the unique privilege to skate as pioneers for their country.”
In a video interview with CBC this week, it was clear that Anderson is aware of what it means to be part of a first generation of Olympian skateboarders, even going so far as to note that he had conflicting goals for Tokyo, and was balancing a desire to win with an obligation to help boost the sport’s profile.
“Am I there to help skateboarding… that’s what I see I’m there for. Or am I there to place the best and try to beat everybody? I want to be there to help skateboarding more than I want to beat other people,” he told CBC’s Jacqueline Doorey.
However, he also mentioned that he’s heard the rumour that only the top eight competitors will make it onto the televised Olympic broadcast, which means in order to help advance the spot, he has to beat a dozen other athletes.
“It’s a trip.”