Skate through Central Park with Tony Hawk and talk skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics, Lizzie Armanto doing the loop, Tony’s roll in the Laureus Academy and much more.

(Interview courtesy of Laureus)

Thanks for your time today, Tony. How does it feel being out skating around Central Park?
It's fun for me to skate anywhere and in New York it's always vibrant and exciting and people are high-fiving and getting selfies. I just love getting out to skate, it doesn't matter where or when. I still love trying to create new tricks but it's just that my motivation is more technical and less risky but it still feels the same to me as when I first started.

You're a Laureus Academy Member, what does your role mean to you?
I'm hugely honored to be part of the Laureus Academy and Laureus Sport for Good, who do so much good for so many kids around the world. I'm proud to take part.

How has skateboarding changed since you first stepped on a board?
I think skateboarding has greatly evolved since I first started. When I was first skating it was more considered a trend or a fad and something that you grew out of. Now it's a legitimate career and there's much more support for it. The perception now is that it's a positive influence on kids.

What does skateboarding offer young people?
Skateboarding teaches kids a lot about self-discipline and really can give them a sense of self-confidence that maybe they can't find in team sports. That's what it provided to me when I first started doing it and I feel like kids can find their voice and find a creative outlet. You know, it's not just a sport, it's very much an art form and a culture and a lifestyle and I think that it can influence kids positively.

Lizzie Armanto recently became the first female to accomplish ‘The Loop’ – can you tell us a little about her achievement?
Lizzie, who is also on our Birdhouse team, was the first woman to complete the full loop ramp. There are less than twenty people that have ever done that in the world, and she's the first female. I've believed in her for a long time and I thought she could do it and the fact that she did it was amazing and it really resonated across the skate world and even across other sports worlds. She inspires my own daughter so I know how much effect she has. I think that there is more support for girls skating than ever. It used to be very much a boys club and it was kind of like you were either a novelty or you were pushed away. I think that now there is a whole contingent of women that are leading the charge and Lizzie's one of them, so I'm hugely proud of her.

Skateboarding debuts at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, what are your thoughts on this?
I think it's about time that the Olympics recognized skateboarding as a legitimate sport. I think that skateboarding is more popular than a lot of the sports that are in the Summer Games and I think it will give a really good youthful vibe to the Games again. It seems like the Winter Games have caught up to the youth movement—especially with snowboarding—so the Summer Games will have skateboarding in the same light. I've said it before but I feel like skateboarding didn't need the validation of the Olympics, but the Olympics needed skateboarding’s 'cool factor' more.