Skateboarding a guideline for life, says Germany’s youngest Tokyo athlete

Berlin, July 20 (IANS) Skateboarding is a perfect metaphor for life, says Lilly Stoephasius, Germany’s youngest athlete competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Skateboarding teaches you to get up again after you have failed. It teaches you determination and perseverance,” the 14-year-old said.

It might be no surprise that the Berlin-born athlete is fond of the sports she has dedicated her life to since she was three years old, egged on by a sporting family and a skateboarding father, reports Xinhua.

Much more unusual appear the conclusions made by the teenager. To hear Stoephasius talking about her sports values sounds like the life balance of an experienced athlete entering the final stages of his competition phase.

The Tokyo Games nevertheless stand for the temporary peak of an emerging career after the German park-athlete ended up third at the 2019 World Championships and second at the European Championships.

Debuting at the Olympics this year, skateboarding is split into two disciplines: the park, and the street.

The park-event takes place in a hollowed-out typical skate park course, while the street competition features a straight course with obstacles to mirror a real street.

By adding skateboard events to the Olympic schedule, the IOC pays tribute to the rising popularity of the sports around the world.

Growing numbers of young athletes can be spotted at skateparks in all continents.

Stoephasius says skateboarding teaches youngsters respect for each other and mutual consideration. “We feel like a community following the same rules. Training at a skatepark requires us to care for each other as only one player is allowed on the track at a time,” the young German stated.

“Athletes always cheer each other and are happy for everyone getting his moves done perfectly. We encourage each other when things don’t work out,” she added, noting her sport is also part of the 2024 summer games in Paris.

Olympic Games are the highlight for “any athlete, and I am already looking forward to making it to the next ones.”

Training sessions several times a week, aside from a strict education plan at school demands a lot of discipline, but Stoephasius seems to take it all in stride.

Most of her vacations she spends in skate parks around the world. “I can’t remember a day I didn’t feel like going out and practice. We always spend our holidays in skateparks in the US or France.”

For Tokyo, her goals seem reasonable as she says: “I am happy ending up among the top ten, and if not, I still have fun to see other athletes and get to know their story. So, I don’t feel any pressure.”

The German youngster says she hopes to encourage more girls to take up skateboarding and that the Tokyo competition might inspire them.

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