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HomeSportNyjah Huston’s long, strange skateboard trip to the Olympics.

Nyjah Huston’s long, strange skateboard trip to the Olympics.


LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Nyjah Huston was driving his Mercedes coupe well past the speed limit between his $3 million house overlooking the Pacific Ocean and his private indoor skatepark where he was training for the Olympics.

He was talking about how he had gotten there and, now, about the distance between public perceptions and inner feelings.

It can be hard to be an adult when you weren’t allowed to be a child. To know who your friends are when you had none as a boy. To learn when you have never stepped inside a classroom. And to build trust when your deepest relationship shattered on the fragile edge between childhood and adulthood.

He idled at a stoplight.


A little voice broke his concentration. Nyjah turned his head. There was a boy on the sidewalk, with a smile, a nod and an enthusiastic wave, as if seeing Santa in a passing parade.

“Hi, Nyjah!”

Nyjah smiled, nodded and hit the gas.

At 26, he belongs to the single-name realm of LeBron, Tiger and Serena. He is the second-most-famous skateboarder on the planet. (Tony Hawk, now 53, may never surrender the title.) He has been famous for three-quarters of his life.

But a new audience is about to experience Nyjah for the first time as skateboarding makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo, starting with the men’s street competition on Sunday.

The Olympics have never had an athlete like Nyjah or a story like his.


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