Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk believes a new park in Salt Lake City will be a destination for many to come and ride, and a training ground for future Olympians.
Brand new Olympic-style state of the art destination skate parks are being unveiled this year in Montreal, Paris, and Salt Lake City thanks to big-name skating brand Vans.
Now open at the Utah State Fairpark, Utah's venue will host the world skating championships this weekend.
Fox 13's Amy Nay went to check it out as it opened to the public Tuesday ahead of the Friday and Saturday competitions that will be the first time the world championships will be held on U.S. soil.
Hawk was in town for the grand opening, saying this venue isn’t like any other.
Skateboarding makes its Olympic debut next summer in Tokyo.
“Utah's always been a strong supporter of action sports, kind of from the early days,” Hawk said. He used to come to one of the first indoor skateparks here in Salt Lake City back in the early ’90s and then snowboard up at our local resorts. “I felt like there was a little Valhalla for action sports.”
He says it makes sense for Utah to host this brand new state of the art Olympic scale skate park — thanks to Vans Park Series and the Utah Sports Commission.
Gov. Gary Herbert, who hosted a press conference on the steps of the state Capitol ahead of the opening of the skate park, agrees.
“We've been progressive. We've embraced the fact that there are other opportunities for people to go out and have fun and for the fan to, in fact, enjoy the quality of the performance," Herbert said.
The governor said Utah has hosted the Olympics, Nitro Games, the biggest Motocross events and all kinds of extreme sports enthusiasts.
“People enjoy doing that, and we as Utahns appreciate their excellence and their effort. It's what we do and we're very good at it," he said.
Pros and amateurs alike were putting this new one of a kind course to the test Tuesday, commenting on what a great new public park this would be for so many.
Vans global director for sports marketing Bobby Gascon told reporters Utah was better in working with them on this project than any other place where they’ve built skateparks as a part of this initiative.
“We hope we are building a relationship that will last for the long run," Gascon said. “It all circles back on what the youth are asking for and what they want us to do for them, and that’s why we’re here today.”
Even Hawk was out skating on the new course with those who came. He also signed autographs and took pictures with the crowd. He is back this weekend to help commentate on the world championships.