Skateboarder Zion Wright talks about his Olympics dream, practicing his craft during the pandemic, his hype-up music and the lack of BIPOC representation in the sport in this installment of Rolling Stone Interview: Special Edition.
Wright was among the skateboarders named to the inaugural U.S. Skateboarding Team headed to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan… until Covid-19 postponed those Games until 2021 (and maybe beyond?)
In the meantime, Wright continues to master his skills on skate parks that are a whole lot emptier due to the ongoing quarantines. He’s also one of five athletes featured in the Red Bull Discover Your Wiiings games, a series of augmented reality games that are featured on the Red Bull AR App through March 31st.
“A lot of people taking advantage during the quarantine time to really get out there and skate some stuff that’s not normally skateable,” Wright says. “Like from the beginning stage to now, you know, we’ve taken a big advantage of that and just getting out there and getting on it.”
As for this year’s Summer Olympics, while it’s still wait-and-see, the fact that Wright was named to the U.S. team in 2019 is still sinking in.
“I feel like it hasn’t really hit me yet, you know, because we’re not there yet,” Wright said. “I feel like all the hard work and all the everything is just going to pay off eventually, when everything starts back up. So I’m just pretty much sitting back, just waiting, whenever they call or whatever, boom, we got to go here when we got to do this and then boom, and just back in the mix.”
Wright started skating as a four-year-old (and surfing by the age of eight) while growing up in Jupiter, Florida. His entire family would journey to the skate park together, and while his brothers also skateboarded, he didn’t encounter many other black kids in either the skating or surfing community both locally and nationally. Thus, Wright’s rise in the sport has made him a role model to the next generation of skateboarders.
“I can say as far as the whole black community and skateboarding, it’s just growing and it’s just going to only get bigger and bigger as far as our youth that’s coming up,” Wright said. “Not a lot of people would be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m going to skateboard type.’ People take that is like a joke type deal, but they don’t understand that. If you actually know, you can actually get good at this stuff and they can actually take you somewhere if you buckle down and put your mind to it.”