Street skateboarder Alex Decunha says the chance to revolutionise his sport is driving him on as he set his sights on Olympic history.
Skateboarding will make its debut alongside surfing and climbing at Tokyo 2020 as the world’s biggest sporting event looks to broaden its appeal to the next generation.
And as one of the UK’s leading skateboarders, Decunha will become a beneficiary of the decision if he can secure qualification for next year’s Games, which are less than a year away.
While the chance to etch his name into Olympic folklore with Team GB clearly appeals the 22-year-old also knows he can change the landscape of his sport forever.
“I would absolutely love to be out there representing Great Britain," said Decunha, from Milton Keynes.
“I never imagined I would get the chance to compete at an Olympics.
“Obviously I still do just skate for fun because I enjoy it but back then you don’t think
you’re going to make anything out of skateboarding, especially in England.
“But the fact that it has changed so much since then, I’ve been able to grow with it and I love it, so to represent my country in it means everything. It feels so surreal, I don’t think it’s kicked in yet.
“I suppose I’m the face of Olympic skateboarding in this country which means more kids will look up to me and get into skateboarding, which will produce generations and generations of skateboarders.
“They will hopefully want to follow the same path and they’ll have their goal of trying to make an Olympics as soon as they start so that will be a great thing.
“Everyone loves the Olympics, it’s going to bring a whole new audience. Families who think they don’t want their kids skateboarding, they can see it’s just like any other sport.
“You can make a living out of it, you can travel the world with it, you can have a good life.”
The upcoming Olympics have prompted huge developments in skateboarding, with the introduction of a worldwide 18-event qualification system for skaters, who can earn ranking points to secure their Tokyo 2020 spot.
And while Decunha has embraced the chance to compete at the world’s biggest sporting showcase, not everyone in skateboarding has been quite so receptive to the idea.
But with only a year to go until the entire nation gets behind Team GB again for a collective celebration of sport, Decunha is putting in overtime to ensure he earns his Olympic bow.
“There was word that skateboarding was going to be in the Olympics for a while and everyone was like, ‘Nah, that’s not going to happen’, but then it happened,” he continued.
“For people like me, who do a lot of contests and try and just make a living out of doing things like this then it’s going to be really good for us, I’m super excited to be a part of it.
“I have the chance to be a part of history and make a bit of history too.”
(Only) One Year to Go. Follow the journey to Tokyo 2020 at TeamGB.com and @TeamGB