Tony Hawk Talks Twitter, Olympics, And His New Book

Tony Hawk. Photo: Garrett Hubbard, USA TODAY

Tony Hawk. Photo: Garrett Hubbard, USA TODAY

Tony Hawk recently sat down with USA TODAY’s Roxanna Scott to discuss his new book, How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO, skateboarding in the Olympics, and the use of new technologies like Twitter.

Here are some excerpts:

One of the other themes in the book was how you’ve embraced technology and change. You wrote you are an early adopter who loves all things Apple. You have more than 2 million followers on Twitter. Is it hard to ever power down? Step back from all of the sharing?

It is for sure. I tend to feel a self-imposed obligation to keep it going and stay engaging and entertaining. But sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I have to do my own thing once in a while.

Who do you like following on twitter? You mentioned in the book that Lance Armstrong has been an inspiration on Twitter.

He definitely sort of planted the seed for people knowing that I was out there. In terms of following, I like anyone who’s using social media uniquely. I would say I think Steven Colbert is hilarious. Chad Ochocinco, he does some really great stuff with his fans. He’s really interactive. He may be a bit much because it’s so constant.

He’ll go to a town he’s never been and say, “I’m at this restaurant. The first 20 people that come in, I’ll buy them lunch.’

It shows you how prolific it is and you can use it in a very positive way, still building your brand. Even though that may not be his motivating factor.

In the book you talk about how the X Games and skate videos revolutionized the sport. Where do you think the sport is headed? What’s the next big thing?

I think probably more international recognition. There’s a lot of potential for growth in countries like China, Japan and other parts of Europe. It’s becoming more recognized — the competition formats are more refined now. I’m sure it will end up in the Olympics at some point. I think that’s more because the Olympics need a cool factor like skateboarding. Not because skateboarding needs them to be legitimized.

A couple of years ago the IOC discussed adding skateboarding to the Summer Games. What’s happening?

There are so many hoops you have to jump through as a governing body, as the sanctioning body for a sport. They’re much more likely to choose an existing body that they already work with.

You have to have an international federation set up for at least four years. You have to have at least one world championships a year. Skateboarding has never been that sort of specific in their competitions. So they have been proactively doing that over the last two years. I think this will be the third. Because if they don’t, there’s a risk another organization like the cycling federation could somehow take authority over skateboarding. I don’t know what the link is, but I’ve heard that.

It’s a bunch of crazy politics. But I truly believe that the Olympics need something in the summer to bring in a younger audience. I would think that they would streamline skateboarding because of that.

To read the full interview go to USA TODAY.