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Three B.C. athletes make Canada's first Olympic skateboard team

Matt Berger rides a rail on his skateboard at the 2021 Street Skateboarding World Championships. (World Skate/Bryce Kanights)

B.C. athletes from Vancouver, Burnaby, Kamloops nominated to Canada's inaugural Olympic skateboard team

Skateboarding is making its Olympic debut at the Summer Games in Tokyo

80 skateboarders representing 24 countries will compete at the Olympics, in both park and street events

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Three B.C. athletes will make history at the Tokyo Games, becoming the first members of Canada’s inaugural Olympic skateboard team.

Andy Anderson from Vancouver, Matt Berger from Kamloops, and Micky Papa from Burnaby have been nominated to the team after qualifying and finalizing their rankings at the Dew Tour in Iowa last month and the Street Skateboard World Championships in this month in Italy.

Skateboarding is making its Olympic debut at the Summer Games, which were supposed to be held last year but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty athletes representing 24 countries will compete at the Olympics, in both park and street events.

“The announcement of Canada’s first Olympic Skateboard team is a welcomed milestone in the rich history of skateboarding in our country,” said Ben Stoddard, president of Canada Skateboard. “Andy, Matt and Micky have earned their place on the global stage by skating with class and individuality. We are so proud of their groundbreaking journeys and eager to watch them shine in Tokyo.”

Head coach Adam Higgins and coach Sean Hayes are also from B.C., hailing from Squamish and Tsawwassen respectively.

“The process to qualify for the Olympic Skateboard Team has been long and gruelling, not to mention the delay caused by the pandemic,” Higgins said. “The final two events have really helped prepare us for Tokyo. With no events in over a year, coming back to competition and battling it out through weather delays, logistical trouble and dealing with all the COVID-19 hurdles, these skaters have proved to the world that they belong in Tokyo.”

According to his Olympic profile, Papa, who is 30, began major amateur competition in 2006, with his first X Games in 2016. He made his world championship debut in 2019. He secured his place on the Olympic roster with an eighth place finish at the World Championships in Rome this month, not slowing down throughout his qualification tour.

Related article: Canadian athletes prepare for debut of skateboarding in 2021 Tokyo games

Team Canada says Berger, 27, who made his X Games debut in 2015, finished among the top-10 in street competition. He underwent surgery that same year, forcing him to miss the 2016 season. He posted his best result at an SLS Tour stop at the 2017 Pro Open. After another hiatus due to surgery, Berger came back in 2018, competing to this day.

“It’s an honour to be representing the country that shaped me to be who I am, doing what I love to do,” Berger said.

Meanwhile, Anderson, the youngest of the trio at 25, suffered an injury at the 2021 Dew Tour in the final event vital for qualifying for the Olympics. However, he went on to secure 11th place, moving him up the global top-30 ranking for park.