Two-time X Games skateboarding medalist Jordyn Barratt likes to do things her way. So much so that the Olympic Hopeful and Team Toyota athlete doesn’t even have a coach. She’s driven by an independent spirit and a love of the sport.
“I mean, no matter what you do in your life, if you love it, I think you should do it,” Barratt says. “I was lucky to find that at a pretty young age.”
Born and raised in Hawaii, Barratt now lives in Southern California, the birthplace of modern skateboarding. Originally a surfer and a swimmer until she tried skating at age 11, Barratt soon began spending every free moment at the skate park. In 2016, she became the first female to compete in both skateboarding and surfing at the VANS US Open in Huntington Beach, California, where she medaled in skateboarding.
“I’m definitely very happy where I am and I’m trying to enjoy the ride,” she says. “That’s what I think sports should be about.”
Barratt talks about her commitment to skateboarding with a deceptively laid-back attitude, but she’s training just as hard as her fellow Olympic Hopefuls. Skateboarding will be making its Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“My schedule’s a little crazy,” she says. “I try to skate every day that I can, plus cross training for injury prevention, running, snowboarding, surfing.”
A balance between expression and execution
Competitive skateboarding has two disciplines: street, which includes obstacles that mimic what’s found in an urban environment like rails and stairs; and park, which is a set of concrete bowls with obstacles.
Unlike other sports, skateboarding offers participants many creative freedoms, including the choice of music, which parts of the park to cover, and of course, which tricks to perform. This creative expression is a key component of the spirit of the sport.
“There’s different scoring criteria, like speed, power, flow, difficulty,” she says. “But it’s also about style. You could be a robot skating and do the best tricks, but judges won’t care at the end of the day. You have to have natural style.”
Barratt sees the skateboarding lifestyle as a blend between authenticity and athleticism. Now that it’s taking a global stage as an Olympic sport, she’s excited for the exposure. But she hopes the skateboarding world doesn’t change too much, especially its culture of inclusivity.
“When you go to the skate park, the people there are like, ‘Let me show you how do this, let me help you out,’” she says. “It definitely can be intimidating, but people want to help because we’re all there for the same reason: we all love to skate.”
“I’m super stoked to be a part of the U.S. team and hopefully get to the Olympics,” she says. “But I still want to just be myself at the end of the day.”
Story originally published on October 22, 2019