US Olympic skating superstar Jagger Eaton on listening to classical jazz while he trains, breaking records at 11 years old - and why NOBODY will be 'on his level' at the Paris Games

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Last month, during a sunny time successful New York City's East Village, skaters flocked to nan celebrated blacktop astatine Tompkins Square Park arsenic they truthful often do. 

World champion Jagger Eaton was amongst them.

In different sport, pinch nan Paris Olympics accelerated approaching, specified a casual outing whitethorn person been viewed arsenic a distraction. Eaton sees it arsenic nan nonstop other for his vocation.


'I mean, it's truthful important to conscionable get retired and skate,' he exclusively told Mail Sport astatine nan Team USA media summit. 'It's precisely why you propulsion up astatine for illustration a hoops tribunal and everybody's shooting hoops together.   

'It's for illustration that vibe... you don't cognize anybody there. But everybody's skating. And each of a sudden, like, 20 minutes later, you sewage 5 caller homies, and you guys are each conscionable vibing and skating a level barroom and talking. And it's specified a typical environment, particularly present successful New York.' 

Jagger Eaton celebrates aft winning nan thoroughfare last astatine nan Olympic Qualifier Series connected May 19

Of course, his Olympic training has entailed acold much than nan benignant of breezy skatepark trips that made him autumn successful emotion pinch nan athletics initially. The 2021 Olympic thoroughfare bronze medalist told reporters earlier successful nan time that this past twelvemonth of activity had 'taken a toll' connected him.

But Eaton's skatepark voyage - and it wasn't his first clip astatine Tompkins - shows a benignant of equilibrium that whitethorn beryllium considered unsocial among elite athletes, astatine slightest extracurricular of skating.

The 23-year-old, who's nan boy of competitory gymnasts (his mother, Shelly, was connected nan USA gymnastics squad from 1985-1989), is not short connected discipline. He's tailored his diet, gotten disconnected societal media and moreover shrunk his societal circle since nan past Olympics.

'They ever told maine really gnarly nan [qualifying] process was,' he said of his parents.

But there's characteristic to his excellence arsenic well. As he sits successful Ralph Lauren's latest postulation for Team USA, he explains really he looks up to athletes pinch 'steeze' (a slang word loosely meaning style) and divulges really an eclectic operation of Playboi Carti, classical jazz and Metallica soundtracks his skate runs. In an property of moisture-wicking fabrics and polyesters, he opts for a plain achromatic T-shirt and denim jeans arsenic his believe outfit of choice.

Perhaps it's nary wonderment past that Eaton's skating straddles 2 worlds, arsenic he is attempting to suffice for nan Olympics successful some nan parkland and thoroughfare categories - thing nary 1 has ever done since nan athletics debuted successful nan Olympics successful Tokyo.

Eaton, seen competing present successful park, is attempting to suffice for nan Olympics successful 2 disciplines

Eaton, seen at Ariake Urban Sports Park, earned a bronze badge successful thoroughfare astatine Tokyo 2020

Park, which Eaton grounded to suffice for successful 2021 pinch a surgery ankle, sees skaters effort to conquer large bowls and bends pinch an array of high-flying tricks. Street competitions much intimately lucifer nan grassroots tone of nan sport, arsenic skaters are tasked pinch impressing judges connected stairs, rails and benches.

Earlier this month, Eaton took a monolithic double measurement successful earning nan correct to do some successful Paris, arsenic he won nan thoroughfare title and placed 3rd successful parkland astatine nan Olympic Qualifier Series successful Shanghai, putting him astatine No. 2 successful nan world successful some disciplines.

The 2nd OQS arena successful Budapest still looms successful June (and will beryllium mixed pinch his world ranking), but Eaton's eager extremity is astir complete. He surely wasn't short of assurance backmost successful April.

'There's cipher that really does it connected my level,' he said of his dual-threat ability. 'And there's cipher correct now who could.

'I'm not sitting present giving you mendacious modesty. I'm conscionable sitting present being real, because, you know, it is nan truth. I benignant of person that work of paving nan measurement for kids to spot what's possible. And I'm grateful to person that opportunity.'

Eaton has been paving nan way, to usage his words, for rather immoderate time.

At nine, he was already sponsored by Red Bull. At 11, he became nan youngest ever personification to compete successful nan X Games (a grounds which has since been broken).

While that roaring commencement brought fame and nan chance to movie nan benignant of street videos that tin vault a skater to cult leader status, Eaton by now has decidedly chosen his way successful nan skating world.

Not each skaters take to compete. Names for illustration Tyshawn Jones, a two-time Thrasher Skater of nan Year, person eschewed Olympic and X Games medals for sponsorships and full-length montages. Jones, successful particular, has embedded himself wrong nan manner world owed to his narration pinch streetwear and skateboarding marque Supreme.

Eaton looks up to Nyjah Huston, who is six years his elder and has won 12 X Games golds

Eaton has thing against each of that, but he wanted more.

'For me, I deliberation what happened was I saw, I saw truthful overmuch occurrence and wellness travel from competitory sports astatine a young age. Just watching shot and hoops and baseball,' he says.

'And past not only that, for illustration erstwhile I saw skateboarding I saw Nyjah [Huston], I saw [Ryan] Sheckler, I saw each these astonishing guys I looked up to person truthful overmuch occurrence successful contest. I'm like, I want that. No, I want to compete successful beforehand of a crowd. But astatine nan aforesaid clip I ever felt like, I want thing much than that. I want to beryllium competing much for much than myself. I want to compete for my country, you cognize what I mean?'

Eaton is not acrophobic to ponder his opinionated successful nan sport, and deliberation astir if he tin lucifer nan benignant of effect of skating legends for illustration Tony Hawk, Sheckler and nan still-active Huston. He's inspired by all-timers for illustration Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and nan precocious Kobe Bryant too.

'Legacy decidedly drives me,' he says. 'I decidedly want to time off this athletics amended than it was erstwhile I came in. I deliberation that's nan goal.'

The 23-year-old, already a seven-time X Games medalist, is surely concerned pinch winning, arsenic good arsenic nan work to nutrient for Team USA (assuming he qualifies).

Eaton routinely skates successful a achromatic T-shirt and jeans, arsenic seen present successful Shanghai connected May 19

Eaton (right) and chap American Tate Carew airs pinch their medals aft nan OQS parkland final 

But location are nan softer, possibly much understated influences that colour his skating and (literally) get his wheels turning arsenic well. He's going for style points too.

'As acold arsenic culturally, skateboarding is very successful tune. I can't locomotion extracurricular and skate unless I'm caught up connected what I'm wearing,' he says, aft mentioning earlier successful nan time really he cuts his T-shirts to bent supra his loop - a instruction from his younger brother.

'Everything that I do connected a regular ground is influencing really my skating will beryllium that day. You cognize what I'm wearing, what I'm listening to, benignant of what my vibe is, who I'm skating with, wherever I'm skating, it benignant of each benignant of each travel comes together. And it's a really typical thing. Skateboarding is ever for illustration a travel each day.

The Arizona autochthonal who looked up to Jordan, who was 'raised on' nan sounds of Tupac Shakur and nan Notorious B.I.G, was not short of influences connected that travel to this point.

Now though, arsenic Eaton edges person towards Paris, it's his approach that will beryllium mimicked by nan adjacent generation.

It's safe to opportunity he's recovered his ain lane. 

'I can't look astatine it nan same. I can't look astatine it for illustration nan thoroughfare guys were looking at, I can't look astatine for illustration nan parkland were looking astatine it,' he says.

'I gotta find a measurement to represent what I'm doing successful a measurement wherever I'm wherever I tin benignant of pave nan measurement for nan younker to spot it nan measurement I spot it.'

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