The skateboarding community in the state was already celebrating before the competition even started Sunday.
They’re thrilled Connecticut native Alexis Sablone was among those taking the world stage at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I mean, we are stoked,” said Brandon Bendfeldt of Mystic, who was among those at a skatepark in Groton on Sunday.
Sablone grew up in Old Saybrook before going off to school at Columbia and MIT.
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While she lives in Brooklyn now, many are inspired by her journey from the Connecticut shoreline to Japan.
“I feel like more people get to witness skateboarding if it’s on live TV in the Olympics and it’s sweet to have somebody from Connecticut representing that,” said Bendfeldt.
The 34-year-old competed in women’s street skateboarding on Sunday.
“The people of Connecticut have a great role model and someone to look up to. I’ve always looked up to her,” said Trevor Thompson.
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Thompson said he grew up skating with Sablone in Connecticut.
“She was definitely just a person who was skateboarding because she loved it and had nothing to do with the accolades or winning anything. It was part of doing something different,” said Thompson.
Thompson said that while Sablone was athletic, he considered them counter-culture then and the Olympics were not on the radar.
He tells us when they were younger, she stood out being a female rider and now hopes she’s part of the inspiration for the sport to become more inclusive.
“I think it’s great to see someone like Alexis out there doing her thing and representing a completely different group of people than I think what mainstream, the world, would assume a skateboarder looks like,” said Thompson.
From skateparks on the shoreline to the Olympics, one of the best women to ever skateboard has the eyes of the world and younger generations in Connecticut watching her.
“It’s definitely inspiring to see what levels you can reach with skateboarding,” said Bendfeldt.
Thompson said he’s been talking to Sablone on the phone in Tokyo and between practices and having to hangout just in the athlete housing, she was anxious to get the competition going.