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Team USA Skateboarder Maurio McCoy Sees The Silver Lining In Olympics Postponement

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Finally, today, we're going to check in with an athlete who would have been in Tokyo this summer to compete at the 2020 Olympics if the Games hadn't been postponed because of the pandemic. Today, we meet a member of Team USA skateboarding, a brand-new Olympic sport that will now debut next summer in Tokyo.

MAURIO MCCOY: Hi, I'm Maurio McCoy. I am on Team USA, and I would have been competing in Tokyo for street skateboarding. I didn't know much about the Olympic qualifying process. It wasn't really something on my radar. I just had been newly introduced to professional contest. So I kind of got thrown into it and kind of learned along the way. But it was, like, such a crazy opportunity and such a big thing for me. And I just kind of was like, hey, I'm here. So I'm going to run with it. I'm going to try my best to keep on going and make it to Tokyo. And it was pretty hectic before all this, but, I mean, it just was, like, so much traveling, contest after contest in different cities, different countries. And then the pandemic hit, and everything stopped.

When I found out that the Olympics were postponed, it was disappointing because I was really looking forward to going to Tokyo, as I know everybody else was. But it also kind of worked as a good thing because a lot of it seemed a little rushed, how everything was happening. It was just a lot of back-to-back contests, and I think everyone was just trying to figure out how to make skateboarding an Olympic sport. So I think the administration and the structure of making it an Olympic contest - they kind of were scrambling to figure out how to do it the fairest way. And I think the good thing that came out of this was it bought more time for them to really figure out like - OK, how can we have this whole process be a little less stressful for the athletes, a lot more fair and give everyone a chance to do their best and whoever does their best to make it to Tokyo?

FADEL: McCoy knows some may be skeptical about skateboarding at the Olympics, but he thinks the games next summer will help change that. In the meantime, he's staying focused on his goal with some musical help.

MCCOY: The artist that I play I'd say the most is Meek Mill.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MILLIDELPHIA")

MEEK MILL: (Rapping) Who locked the city up? Pull up that Bentley truck, rest of them [expletive] see Meek.

MCCOY: I'm from the Philadelphia area. I grew up in a town called Reading. If you know the Reading Railroad from Monopoly, that's where I'm from. That's my go-to. It just sounds like home to me. And right now, my favorite song from him "Weather The Storm."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WEATHER THE STORM")

MILL: (Rapping) I went to war with the system to give my son toys on Christmas. Probably won't give me no Grammy. Give me that. Putting awards on wrists, yeah.

FADEL: That's Maurio McCoy, skateboarder with Team USA, aiming to make his Olympic debut next summer at the games in Tokyo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WEATHER THE STORM")

MILL: (Rapping) We going to war with killers. They put a bounty all on my dogs, want 'em dead by morning, [expletive]. We took risks to live like this, ain't doing consignment, doing consignment. I brought my mama tears, and I turned 'em to VVS diamonds, VVS diamonds. I know you see me on top of my game, ain't see me declining... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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