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Pro Skateboarder Nyjah Huston Hopes to Inspire Kids to Chase "Their Dreams" at the Olympics

In Paris, all eyes will be on skateboarding phenom Nyjah Huston!
 

By Chris Phelan & Cydney Contreras
Nyjah Huston attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City

Some athletes rise to stardom through their accomplishments in the sport they compete in, dazzling fans with their seemingly otherworldly abilities.

For others, talent isn’t as important as marketability — the sense of grasping what popular culture is looking for in the next big thing in sports. 

For skateboarding phenom Nyjah Huston, his success comes as a result of both factors.

A video of Nyjah’s Olympic qualifying run, which guaranteed his spot in the 2024 Paris Games, is the stuff legends are made of. People have noticed, too; it has amassed over 1.2 million views since it was posted in July 2022. One quick look at the video’s comments section tells you everything you need to know – one viewer put it all into perspective: “Having this much skill is like a super power.”

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Nyjah Huston's Early Life

Nyjah Huston of Team USA reacts at the Skateboarding Men's Street Finals on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Urban Sports Park on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

The 29-year-old broke into the skateboarding scene as a kid — he was 10 when he went pro — growing up in Davis, California, a town just 11 miles away from Sacramento — and never looked back.

Nyjah's parents encouraged him and his four siblings to skateboard, with his father, Adeyemi Huston, building them ramps in their backyard. Later, Nyjah told OlympicsonNBC.com, "My parents bought an indoor skatepark in 2003 that was a perfect training facility for me. The rest is history."

Though Nyjah's father was heavily involved in his early career, the skateboarder said that his "success as a young athlete contributed to major disagreements between my parents and my mom had to make the ultimate decision to leave." 

He added, "Unfortunately, my father is no longer involved with us or my career."

His mother, Kelle Huston, continues to manage Nyjah and is a co-founder with him on the water charity Let It Flow, which helps to repair broken water wells and provide water filtration systems to homes in third world countries. They were inspired to start the charity after living on a farm in Puerto Rico, where they often had to carry buckets of water to their home, according to OlympicsonNBC.com.

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Nyjah Huston's Accomplishments

Nyjah Huston trains during practice for the Men's Pre-seeded Street competition during the 2021 Dew Tour on on May 20, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa

Some athletes are simply born for greatness, and Nyjah Huston showed it time and time again. From 2010 to 2020, he either won the gold or silver medal during the annual Street Skateboarding World Championships. How’s that for setting a high standard?

Predictably, success followed Nyjah wherever he went, as he gained national attention by winning a jaw-dropping 11 gold medals in the X Games over his career, en route to boasting a reported net worth well past $10 million – not bad for a kid from Davis!

A master of social media, Nyjah has successfully parlayed his skateboarding “legend status” by being one of the most engaging and prolific influencers in the social media space. Over five million people follow him on Instagram, and one of his latest photos looks more like something out of GQ — Nyjah is a star, plain and simple. Like many athletes and success stories before him, Nyjah Huston built a brand from the ground up, fueled by an innate passion for sport and a vision that always keeps him in the limelight.

However, behind the bright lights that always seem to be following him, Nyjah Huston hasn’t forgotten who he is: A skateboarding prodigy with one more accomplishment to check off his to-do list in 2024.

Throughout his storied career, the only success Nyjah hasn’t experienced is success at the Olympic level. After a disappointing finish as the 7th-place participant at the Tokyo Olympics, Nyjah is looking to redeem himself on an international stage by dominating the competition in Paris. If the above video is any indication, he has to be considered one of the odds-on favorites to win the gold — or at the very least, top his 2020 Olympic performance.

And even if that doesn't happen, Nyjah will likely be happy to have been a part of a major moment in history. He told NBC L.A. in July 2021 that it's not all about winning for him, it's about "growing skateboarding, creating more opportunity for kids to be able to fulfill their dreams of being a pro-skater." 

To see how Team USA performs at the 2024 Olympics, tune in to Peacock and NBC beginning July 26.

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