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Unelmaansa elävä Lizzie Armanto OlympiaCastin vieraana: “En koskaan nähnyt tällaista tulevaisuutta”

Ilkka Palomäki: Tervetuloa OlympiaCastin seuraan. Tämä on Suomen Olympiakomitean tuottama podcast-sarja, joka on käynnistynyt syksyllä 2018. Sisältöjemme kivijalkoina toimivat suomalaisen huippu-urheilun ilmiöiden, tarinoiden ja ihmisten esiin tuominen sekä suomalaisen liikunnan ja urheilun toinen iso valinta ja peruskivi eli seuratoiminta. Kesälläkin puskemme jaksoja ulos Tokion Olympiakisoihin asti. Meidät löydät yleisimmiltä podcastien tarjoajilta. Tänään isäntänä toimii Ilkka Palomäki.

Ilkka Palomäki: Tämän viikon jaksossa tehdään OlympiaCastissa historiaa, sillä ensimmäisen kerran jakson kieli on englanti. Se johtuu siitä, että yksi olympiajoukkueen keihään kärjistä Tokiossa on rullalautailija Lizzie Armanto, jonka äidinkieli on englanti. 28-vuotias Armanto on yksi rullalautailun naispioneereista ja menestyneimmistä urheilijoista. Hänen meriittilistaltaan löytyy paitsi isojen kilpailujen, kuten X Gamesien voittoja, myös mullistavia temppuja kuten 360-loopin tekeminen ensimmäisenä naisena maailmassa. Rullalautailu nähdään Tokiossa olympiaohjelmassa ensimmäistä kertaa ja lajin harrastajienkaan parissa näin vahvaa kilpailuelementin korostamista ei ole otettu mukisematta vastaan. Lizzie on kuitenkin loistava merkki siitä, että urheilullisuus on tässäkin lajissa merkittävä tekijä. Perinteiselle urheilun seuraajalle rullalautailu edustaa vähän tuntemattomampaa maailmaa. Tässä haastattelussa Lizzie avaakin harjaantumattomalle katsojalle, mitä ja miksi tätä lajia kannattaa Tokion Olympiakisoissa seurata.

Ilkka Palomäki: So to begin with, let it be known that this is the first OlympiaCast episode ever to be recorded in English, so you have the honor to make a little piece of history today. The warmest of welcomes, Lizzie Armanto.

Lizzie Armanto: Thank you. That’s exciting. I didn’t know you are breaking ground.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, definitely breaking ground. This is a small step for a man, but one giant step for our podcast, so hopefully we can make a good one.

Lizzie Armanto: Yeah, I’m confident we got it.

Ilkka Palomäki: First of all, you had an injury late 2020. What kind of process has it been to get back to condition and how’s the leg right now?

Lizzie Armanto: So, I ended up skating something that’s kind of like outside of my like what I actually skate. Like obviously there’s like different… It’s basically a different discipline of skating and pretty much like the worst case scenario happened. Like the thing that people are like, oh, this isn’t going to happen, happened. It was pretty brutal. I like just released the footage myself last night actually. Because I haven’t watched it until yesterday. It’s been such a process recovering. Like not just physically but even like mentally from it, because just trauma and I don’t know, you kind of get like a little bit of PTSD, but I don’t know. It’s not my first injury obviously and, you know, growing up skating, I’ve definitely had injuries were like I was out for skating for months, like also six months. It’s such like a mental battle to get your confidence back and for me, I feel like that’s like if you can, like, mentally be OK, like your body will follow. When I fell, I basically did this jump and then there’s like this giant gap, like a 20 foot gap. And then I hit a wall. So I just like went to a dead stop. It’s basically like a car crash. Then I felt like another like 15 feet to the ground on my back. And I ended up… At the time, I didn’t know this. Like at the time I was like pretty calm when it happened and I didn’t get knocked out or anything but I, I was like, OK, well, I was in shock, but I wasn’t in a terrible amount of pain. So I was like, OK, well, maybe I just like sprained myself. But then we went to the hospital and then it was like, OK, I broke a couple transverse processes which are like these little wings on your spine. Then I broke my femur, which is like the biggest bone in your body. I was definitely surprised when I heard that. I don’t know, it was scary because it was also during covid and so when I went to the hospital, I was like by myself. And the only way I could really communicate with the world or my family and friends was through my phone, which was like dying, because that day my husband and I posted, we got married. So, like, all our friends were like hitting us up and saying congrats and I was just this like kind of the heaviest day ever where you’re like, I know you share this amazing thing and then something terrible happens. I don’t know, you’re like literally like away from your loved one. And I don’t, I couldn’t imagine what it was like for my husband because he probably feels like helpless and out of control anyway. The beginning was really scary and then once I had surgery, I was like, OK, I can deal with this. Like, all I have to do is, you know, just start taking steps forward to recover and do PTS as soon as I can and just make sure I really, like, listen to my body, which is a huge thing. You know, not that there’s ever a good time for, like a huge injury to happen, but it was during the pandemic and there’s no events. People aren’t hanging out. So it was like really convenient in the sense that I could just be home and, like, not worry about. Not being somewhere that I had to be or getting ready for a contest, and I mean, frankly, even when it happened, it’s like contest wasn’t the first thing on my mind. It was like, I hope I can walk again and skate again. You just never know with, you know, injuries like that. I was so fortunate because, it was a really big like fall and it was like a double fall. It was like two falls in one. And for the injuries that I sustained, like, it’s really incredible because, you know, like people have gotten so much more worked on, like far less. I just, I’m really, really fortunate and also having everyone around me to, like, help me through recovery has been like all the support was like so central and cutting out everything and just like, you know, focus, like bringing it really back down to the basics. I know people who were like, oh, my God, you must have been so bored, which there was no time to be bored because everything was like exhausting.When you when you go through something like that, there’s all the trauma but then there’s also like you go to surgery and then you’re body’s like putting all his energy into, like trying to repair itself. So you can’t think normal because you don’t have the energy to. I don’t know, I was just like really… Like the first thing when it happened, I was like, how do I get better?

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah.

Lizzie Armanto: And part of that was knowing, like, I was out of control, like the situation was out of my hands and just like trusting everyone around me. Two months later, I was like walking. I was like starting to walk on my own again. And so that was like a huge thing to do because it’s just like, you know, how to do it in your head but then when your body’s not working, it’s like so scary. Even throughout all those processes, like allowing people to help you, it’s sometimes hard, especially when you’re like a high performer, like you have really high standards and like you expect yourself to, like, always be at this place. So to not like to give yourself the space and like to to kind of reel it all back was like a really challenging thing to do. I don’t know, I would say that, like, now I’m like… Once I could do normal stuff, I feel like a huge weight was lifted off me. Like I can walk around and do basic things, even just going to make myself a snack was like a big deal because before I would I just had to wait and like ask and not try not to feel like I’m being like too much. Luckily, like, PT was going really well. I was like super regimented and just making sure I was like listening to my body. So I started skating in, like, March, like pushing around. But that’s not skating at the level that I skate at and I would say I started like really skating how I skate in the past month and I don’t know, like recovery. It’s not like a straight line. Like you don’t just, like, recover. It’s like you do really good. And then you’re like, I don’t know, your body responds to things. And it’s just like listening really. I don’t know, like right now I’m starting to feel more like myself, like and it’s just like getting the strength back in my body and like feeling confident and being able to do what I want to do. I’ve been going to the gym three times a week and it’s even for me to watch my slam yesterday, I think that was like a part of my recovery, I don’t know, like just a part of the processing.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, I can imagine. You took part in Dew Tour in Iowa late May, which was the first international competition after the long covid break. How ready were you to compete with the best in business after such a long break? And also, what kind of information did you get off your performance level heading towards Tokyo Olympics?

Lizzie Armanto: So I would say I went in to Dew Tour like very strategically, like I just really went to, like, hold my points. My goal wasn’t to perform, like to skate how I really skate. I feel like I did what I wanted to accomplish there, which was like all I had to do was take a couple of runs and not make it like, hey, I’m back. Like, obviously I am back and I’m skating, which is one thing. I just wanted to like one, be there. Also it was like a good refresh to get back into an event because it’s for the past year we haven’t seen any people or seen any of those familiar faces or like seen that many people together, which is kind of alarming after, like, you know, just being told to… You know, quarantine and not be around people and like the world is essentially just opening back up again and you have to be ready for that. It’s just stressful when you’re, like, changing your environment like that after having not done it so long. And I don’t know, I felt really good skating, I skated practice really good. In the contest I, like, made a run. And I was happy with that. I wasn’t skating, like I said, at the level that like I have been. But I’m confident, like over the next month and a half I’m really going to start pushing it. In the end, I’m still really just trying to listen to my body. I’m really excited about the Olympics, and it’s huge, but I just want to also, like, not forget you know, the injury, what I went through. If you don’t really do the recovery all the way, like this injury will follow you for the rest of your life. I just want to like, be able to, like, skate and push myself. Like, there’s so much more I want to do. If my body’s not ready, like I’m going to listen to that because with the Olympics, like, you’re literally, oh, like Finland is like the nation is all rooting for you. And that’s that’s huge. Like just my friends and family, too. Obviously I don’t want to disappoint them. But at the end of the day, like, I have to live with myself and I have to make sure that, like, you know, I’m not just like there’s so much more to life to.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, of course. As you pointed out, skateboarding is an Olympic sport for the first time in Tokyo. What kind of an opportunity is this for the sport, in your opinion?

Lizzie Armanto: I think it’s huge. Like skateboarding has never been on a platform like this. And I’m so excited, just because so many people are going to see skateboarding for the first time and hopefully be inspired to try it. And, you know, like I know for myself, like it’s given me so much, but. You know, for anyone out there watching, the cool thing about skateboarding is you don’t need much. You just need to find a, you know, a board and some flat ground and you can start learning how to skateboard and like the feeling of like learning a new trick is like unparallelled. Skateboarding is scary because obviously, like I think you’re going to feel. A lot of people are afraid to fall and get hurt. But if you learn how to fall, it changes the whole thing because now you can start learning tricks. Once you learn one thing that can lead to another thing and like, you start seeing your whole world differently, like all of a sudden you can go so much further now that you have a skateboard instead of like walking. You’re going to start looking at like the ground and you’ll start like reading your sidewalk. And all of a sudden you’re going to see things that you never saw before and like doing things like that, it really changes not just how… All these things that are in your environment, they look different and like all of a sudden there’s this community out there, too. That’s like, if you skate, you can always go to the skate park and meet other skaters and skateboarding is so cool because you don’t have to be a certain type of person. There’s all kinds of people that skate. You could be young, old, rich, poor, you could like come from wherever and learn how to skate.

Ilkka Palomäki: In Finland, there’s been debate, even among the skateboarders themselves, whether skateboarding is a sport to begin with or more like a lifestyle or something you just do on your free time. What does skateboarding represent to you? I mean, is it more like a sport that’s also a lifestyle for you or more like vice versa?

Lizzie Armanto: I mean, I would say skateboarding is like my lifestyle. Like, I think depending on like how you skate and how you use it in your life, that would define. If you think it’s a sport or not. You know how everyone has their own meaning for words, even though there is a dictionary meaning but like there is some finagling you can do. I feel like, there are people that are training to skate and the way they do it, it’s like, yeah, that’s that’s like what you do for sports. But then there’s also things in skateboarding, like by skateboarding, you’re allowed… Or it’s like a form of creative expression and like the way you do it is different than anyone else. It’s almost like singing. Like no one has your voice, only you. And although you can maybe sing the same words as someone, depending on how you say them, like it means something else. When you hear someone singing and it’s like so soulful. It impacts others in a way and it touches people and it changes maybe your perspective or like you can feel what they’re feeling. What is so cool, because it’s like… In skateboarding yes, there’s like a way to do tricks but at the same time, there’s there’s no way to do tricks. You can do them your own way and you can put together lines and use things differently than others. There’s no like set: you have to skate this like this. And that’s what’s fun about it. It’s like when you’re the person seeing it completely different, like that person’s the person that’s like blowing people’s minds.

Ilkka Palomäki: Now, I don’t know how you would pronounce his name, but the high performance coordinator in Finnish Olympic Commitee in skateboarding is Kimmo Yli-Jaskari. I hope you you understood who I was talking about, but Kimmo told me that when it comes to you, your training process is nothing short of any other Olympic athletes. How would you comment on that?

Lizzie Armanto: I mean, I can’t speak for other sports. Obviously he can. I would say that, like, my process is like it’s not that I have like a set schedule for the week. I guess maybe my workouts are a set schedule but as far as when it comes to skating, it’s like. You know, some days I skate three or four days in a row. Some sessions are one hour and some sessions are five hours and. Sometimes, you know, the hour session of just like getting to it. Sometimes can be equal to you skating for like a long time. Skateboarding is really cool because essentially, you know, like park skateboarding, there’s there’s so many different obstacles. It’s not this set thing and you can go and skate a bunch of different parks and like find different little pieces that are kind of like, you know, the park in Tokyo. By skating all these different things, it makes you a better skateboarder and it makes you that much more of, I guess a competitor. Like for me, I feel like I a lot of my skating is like depending on how I’m feeling. So there’s some days where it’s like, OK, like I pushed myself really hard yesterday. I think it’s better if I let my body rest. I’m pretty sore and like, sometimes it’s like, OK, I’ve just been on one and I’m going to keep pushing it and like I said, I still do like supplemental training and I’m still getting my strength back and having this is the trainer I’m going to like he’s really good about, like listening to what I’m feeling. So some days it’s like I was skating a lot and so, like, my legs are super sore, so we’re not going to kill my legs. So it’s just that kind of thing.

Ilkka Palomäki: If we take this a little bit back. When and how did you took on skateboarding?

Lizzie Armanto: So I started skateboarding when I was 14. It was my younger brother and he’s six years younger than me. You wanted to try it and we owned skateboards, but we’d never like properly learn how to use them. My mom ended up signing us up for the local park down the street and it became the place that we’d go to all the time because after school we were like allowed to go to the library or the skate park. Obviously, the skate park is like you’re outside. You’re with a bunch of people. I think a huge thing was that I could be there and my brother could be at the park, but I didn’t have to, like, micromanage him and make sure he wasn’t doing something he shouldn’t do. It was just like, yeah, you go do whatever you want. And I could do the same, which, at 14 years old, you don’t want to be watching your brother.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, I know.

Lizzie Armanto: You just wanna do you own thing.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah. So what was it that made you fall in love with skateboarding and take it as a lifestyle?

Lizzie Armanto: So I would say, at that age, I was into arts and crafts. So I really didn’t have, like, you know, like a social group that I was into. I guess going to the skate park and being around a bunch of people that, you know, wanted to be there and they were just there to skate. It was like, really cool. I remember at some point I saw this person skating one of the bulls there, and they were just flowing around and they just made it look so easy. I was like, yeah, like, it is that easy. at some point, if you just keep doing this thing, it’s just that simple. Even though at the time I was like, I could not push around, I was like terrible at skating. I had made that… Something clicked in my head and I was just like, yeah, I just want to do that.

Ilkka Palomäki: When and how did you realize you were good at this?

Lizzie Armanto: At some point I started getting boards from a local company, which was super helpful because, you know, just not having to pay for equipment is like huge. And they had asked me if I wanted to compete in, like, this local contest. It ended up being like the biggest contest of the year and just meeting so many other skateboarders and people, just pushing themselves and being in that environment. I was so inspired and it was kind of a wacky cast of characters, too. Like I was like, these people are bizarre, but like, I love it. Like, I felt like I fit in. I think at that point I was like once I went to a contest, I was like, OK, I want to keep going and contest. That’s when I really decided I wanted to keep progressing. The next year I started ended up like winning my first contest. So that was huge. I was definitely just like going for it. Like I would push myself and try things that were way out of my ability. And even my friends were just like, what are you doing? Because you know how usually you learn things like one, two, three. Like, I would just like try whatever and sometimes it would end bad. Like I was sketchy and like pretty much always kind of like a little beat up. At some point things started to click and then I had to go back to school because it was during summer when I was like, really just like going every day. When I went back to school, my body finally kind of healed from all that, like just like little scrapes and bruises I had and I started skating even stronger.

Ilkka Palomäki: So how old were you at that point?

Lizzie Armanto: I would say I was like maybe like 16 or 17.

Ilkka Palomäki: So as you said before, skateboarding, it’s before anything else, it’s a lifestyle. How did you embrace the competitive side of the sport and how how important has that part been for you?

Lizzie Armanto: Like I said, I was really inspired at contests beacause I was just around a bunch of people that were pushing themselves. It wasn’t that I was like, oh, I have to be better than the next person. I was more like, well, they’re learning a new trick and that looks fun to do and I want to try that. I started looking at contests like, you know, the finals is usually like a 15 minute heat and so just during that day, you do your best during that 15 minutes. And whatever it is like, that’s it. You know, even if you get judged, like in the end, I have my own set of goals that I want to meet and a lot of them is like, OK, I’m here, and if I can do these tricks, I have done my job. There’s definitely times where, I even did well at events, and then I felt personally I didn’t do what I wanted to do and it was frustrating. I think just having that mindset made it so much different. At that time, it was a pretty small scene, too. So there’s only so many people and like on the women’s side and a lot of them, like you’re rooting for your friends to do the best run that they can do because they have a different skill set than you.

Ilkka Palomäki: So there are a lot of really good, really young athletes in your sport. For example, in the recent Dew Tour, there was Britain’s Sky Brown second and Japan’s Kokona Hiraka fifth that they’re both 12 years old, which is pretty uncommon in an Olympic sport. What does that tell you about the sport?

Lizzie Armanto: I mean, skateboarding, it’s no secret that, kids do… Like it’s such a different thing, I would say like skateboarding is a counterculture sport and there’s something to it that is just like fun and attractive. Like, there’s no rules, like I said, and so it’s like for young kids, like, that’s huge. So I totally get why young kids would want to be into it and. it’s cool because you can see, how they approach things and it’s just so different because, all these young kids come into it and it’s like they just see, you know, what certain people are doing and they start there pretty much. As the level of skateboarding progresses, you know, if you like, go into it thinking that, this high level is normal. It’s like you put yourself there. And so it’s so cool that they have that to look at. Because like, even when I was skating, there was only maybe a handful of girls that were really skating at a high level. Otherwise there were just like men. I know like being a young girl… It’s sometimes it’s hard to relate to that.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah. Like in any sport, the younger younger always develop new things and therefore the sport constantly evolves. What does it take for you to meet these standards when there’s always new kids coming in and evolving the sport?

Lizzie Armanto: I mean, like you’re saying, there’s always new things being pushed, but I feel like, there’s so many things you can do on a skateboard. I think some people get fixated on certain tricks and like doing that, but I don’t know, even the way I skate. I grew up skating with a lot of older skaters. So I was really inspired by the tricks that they were doing and those were like 80s tricks. You know, kids today, I think there’s like hints of that type of skating, but I feel like I’m like really inspired by that kind of thing and there’s all these different styles. It’s like even in music. You know, music is always changing styles but if you’re really good at a certain genre and you love that, it’s really hard to hate on like that. It may not be may or may not be your taste, but if it’s really good, it’s really good.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah. Of course you are a major name in your sport and people listen to you. If there are some young Finnish skateboarders listening, would you have some kind of advice on how to become as good as an athlete it’s possible?

Lizzie Armanto: I would say, if you wanted to try skateboarding, you should try it and just remember everyone has to start somewhere. You know, it takes a lot of time and patience to figure something out. Having a friend with you makes those kinds of things a lot easier and nowadays, there’s the Internet, so there’s so many things you can watch and learn and be inspired by and maybe even make friends with, like, start falling all these different skateboarders and like become friends with them. I guess the main thing I would say is you should learn how to fall, because that’s going to make your whole experience so much better.

Ilkka Palomäki: So in order to make better tricks, you have to learn how to fall first. Did I understand correctly?

Lizzie Armanto: Yeah. I mean, whether or not you learn it first, like it’s going to it’s going to happen either way and you’ll save a lot of time and you’re maybe even save your body. Like basically learning how to fall just creates longevity.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah.

Lizzie Armanto: And that’s how see people like, you know, skating in their 50s and 60s. On Instagram, I see that there’s this like 80 year old that learned how to drop in and that’s insane. Like imagine. I can’t imagine what it’s like being 80 and just deciding, like, I’m going to do this.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah.

Lizzie Armanto: Knowing all the risks and like, it’s just so cool to see someone like that driven. It inspires me.

Ilkka Palomäki: What about the physical demands of the sport? What kind of physical demands are there in order to be successful? And also what kind of training does it take to be one of the best skateboarders in the world?

Lizzie Armanto: I feel like it just takes drive and determination. It’s not like, you need to do this to be the best. It’s really, you know, skateboarding is very subjective. Like who I think is the best is different from like the next person who thinks someone is the best. That’s the cool thing about it.  You can have your own opinion. Another thing that I think is really incredible is like the people that are really good at skateboarding aren’t necessarily the people that are just athletically inclined. It’s usually the person that’s like struggling that really wants it. That’s going to follow through and like make it to the point where they’re like at a high level.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, kind of like make it through a wall.

Lizzie Armanto: Yeah. It’s not about like who’s closer. It’s about who’s like who wants it the most. Growing up skating and just seeing who I’m still skating with, like there was people that I’ve seen that were really talented, but they just, you know, it almost came too easy. They they didn’t appreciate it and it’s like the person that like doesn’t can’t get it is like the one was just like, no, I want it.

Ilkka Palomäki: Well you’ve done a lot of things during your career, for example, winning the X Games and many other major competitions. Also, you’re the first woman to complete the 360 loop. You’ve had character based on you and Tony Hawk’s video games and so on. What is the thing you’ve accomplished you’re most proud of?

Lizzie Armanto: I think I’m most proud of getting my name on a skateboard. That moment I feel for me it was like the validating moment of I completed my goal of, like, I’m going to be a professional skateboarder. Also just like having the team around me. The birdhouse team is incredible and having Tony’s support. All that stuff means so much to me, because when I first started skating, like, I never saw a future like this for myself, like it’s impossible for me to imagine it could be like this, especially at that time. Even through all the people that maybe said things that were lame and didn’t even know that they were being discouraging and just being able to get through all that and yo make it to here, it was so big.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah.

Lizzie Armanto: Like there wasn’t women with skateboard, like there wasn’t women on core skateboard companies with their name on the bottom of a board. You know, when little kids say, like, oh, I want to be professional skateboarder, it means having your name on a skateboard and not just like… It’s one thing to make a living off skateboarding. Like nowadays you can even go around the industry, like you can become a YouTube or I don’t know, there’s different ways to make it work and that’s cool that there’s so many paths. But like for me, I feel like that I wanted to do it in a way that it was like, I’m going to do it like this and I want this.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah. So so the so-called legacy comes from things like that, more like the the successes in competitions.

Lizzie Armanto: Yeah.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah. Considering all that, where does competing in Olympics and possibly succeeding there stand in your thinking?

Lizzie Armanto: After this past year honestly it’s been so… I don’t know, I feel like everything has just been like on the fly, like you just never really know what’s happening anymore. Even right now there’s still controversy is like, oh, should the Olympics happen? Obviously I really want them to because it’s been a long – it’s taken quite a bit to get here. For me, I just feel like it would it would mean so much to a lot of people. Like I said, I guess I’ve just been like, looking forward to it for like a while.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, what do you think what kind of moment will it be for you to perform on an Olympic stage representing Finland?

Lizzie Armanto: I don’t know. It’s really hard to imagine, to be honest. I don’t know. It’s kind of like I can’t even fathom what it’s like to just be there. I’ve had all this experience skating contests, but never like under this context and with representing a whole country and like, you know, having the world watch. That’s amazing.

Ilkka Palomäki: And also there’s more than 30 sports. So there’s basically every summer athlete that is also there. So it’s kind of a different atmosphere, I would imagine.

Lizzie Armanto: Yeah. I’m also like, I’m not the person that’s like big into being like… I don’t know, I want to say, like, I’m kind of like a loner, like I’d rather do stuff on my own. I don’t like big groups of crowds, but then I feel like this experience is going to be so different from anything I could have ever imagined.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s lots of people listening to this broadcast who I’ve never watched high level skateboarding competitions prior to Olympics. Could do your share like Skateboarding for Dummies and tell us a little bit what kind of things to watch for?

Lizzie Armanto: Yeah. So if you’ve never seen skateboarding and you’re watching park for the first time, like one, in my opinion, you’re watching one of the coolest forms of skateboarding because, you know, people will do eyre’s and go like way out of the like out of the pool or bowl or out of the park. There’s so many different lines to do like tricks. So, you know, as a skater, you have like what? Forty five seconds to do a run and you can start anywhere you want and then you go from wall to wall and like go over like hips and things and the way you put a line together and that the tricks that you choose to do and where you choose to do them. Some of these obstacles are harder than others. And, you know, sometimes, even if you have something like planned out and it’s been working really good if you land in the wrong place after maybe the first wall that can change your whole run and I don’t know, the way I skate, if I end up going in a different direction than I had expected, it’s like now I’m like in this whole different other line and sometimes you’re just making it up as you go. It’s really cool to watch because, like, as you’re thinking of these things, your body’s doing them. Skateboarding is really fast and, you know, the park in Tokyo is really big, so I’m not sure if you’re going to be able to tell how fast people are going, but it’s crazy, and if you were there in person, like some people get into these parks and they can’t even climb out because it’s just so steep or too deep for them to get out. It’s almost like that TV show where they do all the obstacles and there’s that one giant one where they climb up the vertical like we’re skating those things. Also, just like each trick you pick, there’s different levels of technicality. Sometimes if you do a giant air that’s not as technical as like a certain type of trick on the lip. I don’t know, obviously, until, like, really getting skating you to understand that. It’ll be easy to see whether or not you know anything about skateboarding of like, who looks good.

Ilkka Palomäki: Ok, so what kind of things tell the untrained eye, whether the run is successful or not?

Lizzie Armanto: There’s no way you can know that unless you’re the person. Sometimes when you see people and you’ve watched them skate, sometimes you can tell just because you like kind of know what to expect and something unexpected happens. Sometimes you’ll see the expression of the person skating and they’ll be surprised, too, but I think maybe the best thing and you can pretty much guess if it’s successful, it’s like if they made their whole run, like, that’s like a big thing because you could do this really challenging run and if you missed the last trick. You get scored down for it like a lot, which, you know, obviously you want to put a full run together, but then also you want to put like something a lot of technical tricks in there.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah. The last one. There’s two competition formats park and street. You’re competing in park. What is the difference between these two and why is park the format for you?

Lizzie Armanto: So I would say street, it’s derived from obstacles you would find just out in the street, like there’s handrails, there’s ledges, there’s stairs. So these are all like street obstacles nd it’s set up very different. Like, there’s not too much transition. There’s some banks usually and maybe a couple of little water pipes. But the focus is on those obstacles where a lot of the times you’re like falling on to and like doing jumps, essentially, whereas the the park terrain, it’s derived from like backyard pools and like transition is basically everything. If this is like a wall and this is the ground, it’s like scoop everything in between and, you know, that is more like gyrating momentum and then going up and landing and not as much impact history, but a lot more like height. Obviously there’s like big obstacles on the street. Like sometimes there’s 14 stairs, which is huge but then sometimes in park you’ll see a nine foot deep end and someone’s going to do like an eight foot air or a seven foot air. And now that they’re like they’re 16 feet above the ground, like, that’s huge.

Ilkka Palomäki: Yeah, so what makes park the preferred version for you?

Lizzie Armanto: So where I grew up skating, there was just the park, my home park, it was a lot of transition and not too much street obstacles and the people that used to go there, there was a lot of really good skateboarders that skated the transition. I was really inspired by that and I would say up until the past few years, I’ve always kind of not understood street skateboarding, like not that I didn’t like see it as its own thing, but I just meant, like, it was so hard for me to imagine and understand how they do the tricks as a skateboard. I met my now husband and he’s a street skateboarder and just seeing his process, I’m so much more inspired and I guess just being around it’s really cool and also seeing skateboarding. So for me I skate park and I’m around park skateboarding, so like obviously seeing it is one thing and then when I see street skateboarding in front of me like a high level. I think that’s when I started getting inspired.

Ilkka Palomäki: Great, thank you very much for visiting our show and you’ve been really generous with your time and I would also like to express that it’s really nice to see you representing Finland in Tokyo in the summer. Thank you.

Lizzie Armanto: Thank you. I’m happy to. It’s an honor and it’s an honor to be on your show.

Ilkka Palomäki: Thank you very much.

Ilkka Palomäki: Kiitos vielä Lizzielle vierailusta OlympiaCastissa ja kovasti tsemppiä matkalla historiallisiin Olympialaisiin. OlympiaCast palaa jälleen ääneen viikon päästä uusin aihein. Jotta seuraava jakso ei mene ohi, niin käy tilaamassa tämä podcast sieltä, mistä podisi tykkäät kuunnella. Arvostamme myös kovasti, jos käyt heittämässä arvion meistä. Se auttaa meitä kehittymään ja toisaalta löytämään myös uusia kuulijoita luoksemme.