The name Tony Hawk is synonymous with skateboarding. But what happens when a sports legend realizes his body isn’t what it used to be?
For many professional athletes, especially those at the top of their game, it is difficult to call it quits. But Tony Hawk has always been different from others.
In 1999, Hawk retired from competitive skateboarding after landing a 900 at the X Games. A 900 is two-and-a-half mid-air spins, and Hawk was the first person ever to land it.
Tony Hawk’s move away from competition didn’t end his skating career. At the age of 52, he is still doing tricks that many people can’t even wrap their heads around! But with that said, Hawk understands that he can’t perform the same way he once did.
In this video, Hawk attempts multiple times to land an Ollie 540, one-and-a-half rotations. You can see his frustration and resignation that he’s not young anymore.
Less than two months before this video was posted, Hawk posted another video of him doing a 720, two complete mid-air rotations. Like the Ollie 540 video, Hawk struggles to achieve the move.
For anyone not familiar with the sport, watching the board leave his feet and his body continuing to spin toward the ramp is scary! But for Tony Hawk, it’s just another day and another fall.
Eventually, he lands the 720 and yells as he reaches the other side of the ramp. He captioned the video:
“I recently made a 720 and it was a battle. The last one I made before this was over three years ago, and it’s much harder now all things considered: recently dislocated fingers hinder my grab, my spin is slower so I need to go higher for full rotation and… I’m really old.”
It is incredible to see a person of his age perform these tricks that most people wouldn’t even imagine doing!
But even as he proves to himself that he can still land these moves, he understands what it means to be 52.
We know what you might be thinking: 52 isn’t that old. Well, for athletes, especially those of the extreme variety, 52 might as well be 102.
High-impact sports like skateboarding don’t do many favors for the body.
For most people over 25, the idea of taking a fall, as Hawk does in his Ollie 540 video, makes our joints ache.
But that is what sets athletes like him apart from the rest of us. He is willing to put his body on the line for a sport he loves. Tony Hawk’s graceful acceptance of his age is something not often seen in athletes and celebrities.
To acknowledge the limits of his body and age makes him human like the rest of us even though he has consistently proven his superhuman abilities.
In the video, after Hawk lands his last Ollie 540, he falls to his knees and breaks down in tears.
It is the culmination of his life on a skateboard. He says, “I never have much finality to anything, but that definitely was the last one I’ll ever do.”
There is no doubt that Tony Hawk will continue skating. It is part of who he is, but he has retired the Ollie 540 from his repertoire.
Be sure to watch the equally impressive and emotional video below.
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