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Tony Hawk Skates to Success on Beyond The Glory

Stacy Peralta: “He’s the greatest vertical skateboarder in the history of skateboarding.”

Tony Hawk is skateboarding’s original superstar, single-handedly revolutionizing the sport and giving it an international face. Yet his early success and fierce determination to be the best could not prepare him for the personal and professional hurdles he would have to overcome along the way. Fox Sports Net’s BEYOND THE GLORY, Sunday, July 27 at 9:00 PM chronicles Tony Hawk’s trying journey to success.

When Tony Hawk was nine years old, his brother Steve gave him a fiberglass skateboard. Neither Tony nor the skateboarding world would ever be the same again. Hawk became a fixture at San Diego, Calif. skateparks, pioneering his own unique style to compensate for his small frame. When Hawk was 12 years old, skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta approached him about joining the Bones Brigade, an elite team of the top young skateboarders. Within two years, Hawk had his own signature board, a magazine cover and the deepest pool of tricks in the sport’s history. A year later he won the National Skateboarding Association’s first championship, a title he’d claim for 12 consecutive years.

Over the next few years, Hawk won nearly every contest he entered. With the royalties he received from his merchandise he became the skateboarding circuit’s highest earner. Hawk was riding high. He was a wildly successful cult hero well on his way to becoming a skateboarding legend. Yet Hawk was unprepared for the adversity and difficult times that awaited him.

Almost as quickly as skateboarding took off, the sport’s popularity began to die. Parks were closed down due to rising insurance costs and interest in the sport started to wane. With mounting financial problems and a new bride and baby to support, Hawk was forced to find other ways to make a living. He started his own skateboarding company, Birdhouse and also worked as a video editor. The financial and personal strain he endured eventually caused his marriage to fall apart. Tony’s personal struggles continued. His father, whose love and support for Tony and his fellow skateboarders earned him the title of organized skateboarding’s founding father, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. As a tribute to his father, Tony was more determined than ever to bring back the mainstream success of skateboarding.

Hawk found his opportunity with the popularity of the X-Games, the first nationally televised action sports event. He won the first contest and emerged from the Games as the most popular athlete. Skateboarding was on the rise again and Hawk led the surge. He continued to dominate the competition and propelled his company Birdhouse to financial success. Yet his greatest achievement was still to come. At the 1999 X-Games, Hawk was determined to land the 900, a trick that had eluded him and the skateboarding world for years. On his 12th attempt, the 31-year-old Hawk made skateboarding history. With a new signature trick, Hawk became the face of skateboarding. Fans flocked to see him, and the interest in skateboarding became international. Tony Hawk became a household name and his name became synonymous with the sport he helped redefine.

Today, Tony Hawk has achieved unparalleled professional and financial success. With a popular video game and a new arena show, Hawk is a one-man empire earning nearly $10 million a year. Though officially retired from skateboarding, Hawk’s fan base and notoriety continue to grow.

People interviewed for this episode of BEYOND THE GLORY in addition to Hawk include: sister Pat Hawk, mother Nancy Hawk, brother Steve Hawk, Bones Brigade founder Stacy Peralta, friends Matt Goodman and Sean Mortimer and pro skateboarder Bucky Lasek.

Quotes from the show:

Tony Hawk
On his success: “I was never one to give up on something. If I put my mind to a certain maneuver I have to do it no matter how long it takes.”

On being the youngest member of Bones Brigade: “It was a big honor to be asked to be part of the Bones Brigade, but I felt out of place because these guys were considered the best skaters in the world.”

On his high school advisors career advice: “My teacher was telling me that I wouldn’t go anywhere in skateboarding and that I had to figure out what to do when I got out of high school. At that time I was already making more money than him.”

Pat Hawk
On a young Tony: “He definitely looked like a little twiggy bird on a skateboard.”

Nancy Hawk
“Tony worked as hard at his sport as any prodigy has worked at the piano or the violin.”

Steve Hawk
“He got good fast and he fell in love with skating fast, but it took awhile for it to consume his life.”

Stacy Peralta
“There are very few athletes in the world that transcend all barriers. There’s Michael Jordan, there’s Tiger Woods and there’s Tony Hawk.”

“He’s the greatest competitive vertical skateboarder in the history of skateboarding.”

“You can’t go anywhere without having a billion kids going after him like the Pied Piper.”

On Tony’s competitors: “Skaters would come up to him and say “Man, I’m hoping I can get second.”

Matt Goodman
On Tony today: “He could come back now and beat everybody. He’s still that good.”

Sean Mortimer
On Tony’s drive: “His dad had to physically go down to the bowl at the skatepark and pull him out with his arms and legs kicking. Tony would scream, ‘if I could try it five hundred more times I could do it.'”

Bucky Lasek
“He would pretty much have to beat himself for anyone else to win.”

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