Big board highlights new sports at Games

Skateboarding will be one of six sports making their debut at the Tokyo summer Olympics next month and to celebrate, the largest fully operational skateboard in the world was brought to Wanaka on a countrywide tour.

The 12m long, 3m wide, 800kg skateboard, is named Eke Tahi, or Ride as One, and is the biggest attraction on the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s great Olympic skate roadshow.

Two of New Zealand’s top skateboarders, Bowman Hansen and Matt Markland, had hoped to represent New Zealand at the Olympics next month but the Covid-19 restrictions last year prevented them from qualifying.

Instead, they have been escorting the super-sized record-breaking skateboard on its journey to 45 towns across the country over 41 days.

New Zealand winter athletes (from left) Ben Barclay, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Laura Whitten, Cool...
New Zealand winter athletes (from left) Ben Barclay, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Laura Whitten, Cool Wakushima, Finn Bilous and Tiarn Collins send messages of support to their summer athlete peers heading to Tokyo. PHOTO: KERRIE WATERWORTH
Mr Hansen said that he had ridden a skateboard on top of the giant skateboard, which sits 2m off the ground at its highest point, but has not ridden the board itself.

"The most we have actually moved it is 20m from the trailer."

He said the public was welcome to come and see the skateboard but only sponsors and athletes within the Olympic family were allowed on it.

Yesterday, it was the turn of a contingent of New Zealand’s top winter sports athletes to send their best wishes to more than 200 summer athletes expected to represent New Zealand in Tokyo next month.

The roadshow will finish in Auckland and the skateboard will be on display at the new New Zealand Team HQ fan zone at The Cloud when the Tokyo Olympic Games begin on July 23.

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