The Untold Truth Of Tony Hawk

If you didn't know, skateboarding is finally an Olympic sport. Yeah, it's time to stop thinking of skateboarders as slackers with no ambition who wear loose shorts everywhere. Skateboarders are Olympic athletes representing their countries who wear loose shorts everywhere.

Skateboarding will also see one of the youngest athletes in this year's games, Sky Brown, who is 13 and representing Great Britain. Another skateboarding legend will also make his debut in the Olympics, except he's not competing.

Tony Hawk is probably the most famous skateboarder of all time. He's probably the person you told your parents about when they'd get mad that you go to the skate park too much. Hawk will be at the Olympics, but as a commentator for NBC.

Hawk is the best choice to call out moves during the Olympics. His official website notes he was World Champion for 12 years straight. The Ringer even calls Hawk the GOAT, the greatest of all time.

But Hawk was already predisposed to greatness, even as a child.

Tony Hawk's gifted in many ways

Tony Hawk was pretty much a prodigy, and not just in skateboarding. CBS reported his IQ tested at 144. But he still didn't do well in school. He said the jocks bullied him in his San Diego high school.

The good thing though is that he'd already found something to be passionate about. Even though he tested with high intelligence, academics just wasn't his favorite activity. He was hyperactive, and he told CBS that he could've had attention deficit disorder. He said he could never sit still and just had to always do something.

Fortunately, his brother had given him a skateboard when he was 9 years old, per the Tony Hawk website. That was the moment he realized what he wanted to be when he grew up. From there, Hawk began skating in earnest and turned pro at 14. He even got his first sponsor two years before. By the age of 16, Hawk was already considered one of the best skateboarders in the country.

He has many firsts

Tony Hawk wasn't only really good, he was so amazing that he created an amazing trick. Biography explained that Hawk was the first skater to land a 900 — where someone rotates 900 degrees (hence the name) or two and a half turns in mid-air. He landed the trick in the 1999 X Games. Around this time, skateboarding had waned in popularity from its high in the early 1990s. Hawk had participated in several X Games and even won a few of them before completing the 900. (Twelve-year old skater Gui Khory has since landed a 1080.)

After the 900 was created, skateboarding became popular again. The New York Times wrote Hawk began appearing in commercials for McDonald's, Jeep, Hershey's, and even Bagel Bites. He also started endorsing the game developer Activision.

Hawk's popularity extended beyond skateboarding. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama invited Hawk for a Father's Day event at the White House. In true Hawk fashion, he skated down the halls of the White House. ABC noted that his skate on the marble flooring was the first time anyone's skated inside the White House with permission. Predictably, this didn't go down well with critics.

Wait until they find out Hawk also used his skateboard inside the Executive Office where the vice president works.

Real-life video games

Tony Hawk's partnership with Activision went beyond endorsements. For many kids, their introduction to skateboarding came from "Tony Hawk Pro Skater," a game released by Activision in 1999. As Verge explained, the game got to a fifth iteration before a new developer took the classic and remade it. The game can sometimes go wild, which is probably why kids love it so much.

While everyone knows Hawk inspired a video game, but not many people know that Hawk has also inspired theme park rides, you know, real-life video games. Ultimate Roller Coaster pointed out that the Six Flags Mexico roller coaster, Joker, used to be Tony Hawk's Big Spin. Opened in 2008, the ride is a spinning twister coaster where riders go over drops, turns, and helices while their cars spin. Big Spin used to be in Six Flags Kingdom in California before it was renamed to the Pandemonium in 2011 after Six Flags canceled its license with Hawk. Pandemonium was moved to Mexico, where it was then renamed the Joker in 2013.

And that's not the only Tony Hawk-inspired ride at Six Flags. The Half Pipe located in many Six Flags theme parks was originally called Tony Hawk's Half Pipe. People sit on swim tubes and are pushed down a giant four-story half-pipe at 23 miles an hour.

Tony Hawk's been married four times

Even though the world knows Tony Hawk for his skateboarding skills, not many know that he's a family man. Hawk has been married four times, per Biography. He married his first wife, Cindy Dunbar, in 1990. Dunbar gave birth to their son Riley, but the two divorced in 1995.

He then married Erin Lee in 1996, with whom he had two more sons, Spencer and Keegan. But, like before, Hawk and Lee divorced. He then married Lhotse Merriam in 2006 in Fiji, per People. They welcomed a daughter, Kadence Clover, in 2008. Merriam and Hawk filed for divorce in 2011.

In 2015, RTE reported Hawk married his current wife, Cathy Goodman, in Limerick, Ireland. Goodman had been married to Hawk's best friend, Matt Goodman, but the skateboarder did not start dating her until a year after they broke up.

Hawk's children have followed in his footsteps, although only one really made a go of it. The New York Times said Riley is also a professional skateboarder. Hawk said he convinced his son to pursue skateboarding over motocross because he actually is very talented at it.

He's still got it

Tony Hawk today is known for his hilarious social media posts where he recounts people not recognizing him. The Ringer noted that sometimes Hawk doesn't know if others are just in on the joke or not.

What sometimes gets lost in his funny posts is Hawk's activism. Hawk has been working to make skate parks as common as soccer and baseball fields. He wants kids just like him to try the sport and be kept out of trouble.

This is why Hawk was also supportive of bringing skateboarding to the Olympics. He once said the Olympics need skateboarding more than skateboarding needs the games, and even felt that there was no reason for skateboarders to compete in the Olympics, but since changed his mind.

So now Hawk is in Japan, ready to commentate in the Olympics. And don't think he's staying away from the skate park. According to HuffPost, he shredded the track, just because he's Tony Hawk.