World champion Huston heads USA Skateboarding National Team
VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Three-time world champion Nyjah Huston of Laguna Beach tops the 2020 USA Skateboarding National Team heading into the sport's Olympic debut in Tokyo next summer.
The 24-year-old Huston is considered the gold medal favorite in men's street.
Skaters named to the national team Sunday will receive support from USA Skateboarding but still have to earn an Olympic berth through various qualifying contests.
Huston is coming off a victory in the world championships last month in Sao Paulo.
"Without a doubt, winning the world championship and finishing on top of the world skateboard rankings in September cemented him as the leader in Olympic qualifying, not just in the United States but in the world right now," USA Skateboarding CEO Josh Friedberg said.
"Nyjah is an unbelievable competitor. He thrives under the pressure of big-time competitions and I think that it would not be surprising in any way, shape or form to see him get a gold medal in Tokyo."
The 2020 team was announced after the 2019 national championships concluded Sunday. Huston didn't need to compete because he's amassed enough points.
"It's a crazy time for skateboarding," Huston said. "To think it took this long to get into the Olympics with skating being such an active sport world-wide, with all the kids who skate, I'm thankful I'm at a point in my career where I can hopefully get out there and represent my country, and nail it. It's sick."
Winners of Sunday's finals were Dashawn Jordan of Chandler, Arizona, in men's street; Tristan Rennie of Rialto in men's park; Mariah Duran of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in women's street; and Bryce Wettstein of Encinitas in women's park. The contest was the first chance for American skaters to earn points for the second qualifying season.
Friedberg said there is so much depth among American skaters that "essentially at this point if you're on the national team it's because we believe you have a chance of making the podium in Tokyo. There's some variance on some of the skaters. Some are kind of developing now. Overall the reason we're supporting them is we believe they have that capability. This season it's up to them to prove it to themselves."
Joining Huston on the national team in men's street are Jordan; Jagger Eaton of Mesa, Arizona; Jamie Foy of Deerfield Beach; and Maurio McCoy of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Rennie is joined on the men's park squad by Cory Juneau of San Diego; Heimana Reynolds of Honolulu; Tom Schaar of Malibu; Alex Sorgente of Lake Worth, Florida; and Zion Wright of Jupiter, Florida.
The United States can send a maximum of three skaters per gender, per discipline, to Tokyo.