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Tokyo Olympic Spotlight: Nyjah Huston

Nyjah Huston holding a skateboard against white backdrop. 

The Tokyo Olympics is here, and SportsEngine is shining the spotlight on five of the reigning and emerging stars for Team USA. You'll learn about their journey, including in the formative years that helped propel that athlete to become one of the nation's–and world's–best.

Check out the second installment, with six insights on 18-time X Games and six-time World Skateboarding champion Nyjah Huston.

Huston’s father, Adeyemi Huston, insisted his five children participate in his passion, skateboarding.

Nyjah Huston told NBC Olympics that he was "raised in an alternative family with a very unique story," noting that he started skateboarding at the age of 4 and that his mother Kelle homeschooled him and his siblings. Their curriculum covered the staple subjects but also included horticulture, nutrition, construction, and, of course, skateboarding. Huston tasted success early on, landing his first sponsorship at the age of seven. 

When he was 8 years old, his family purchased a skate park, and Huston practiced constantly. 

Kelle told Jenkem in 2014 that Huston’s older brothers were more "social skaters," and that he was dedicated and practiced alone a lot. Huston scored his first major victory at the age of 10 at the 2005 Tampa Am, where most of his competitors were twice his size and age. The following year, he competed in his first X Games. In 2015, Huston told Rolling Stone that hard work at the family's skate park was key to his success. "When kids ask me how I got to be so good at such a young age, that’s my main answer. Any kid who loves skating as much as I did and has a perfect indoor skate park to skate every day, I’m pretty sure they’re going to get pretty good at it, as long as they have the drive. I skated there every day until I was 11."

Huston told NBC Olympics that he typically wakes up at 9 a.m., works out at the gym four days a week, and does physical therapy three days a week. 

As he gets older, Huston added that he doesn't usually skate two days in a row anymore because it is so hard on his knees. He's had many injuries, but he describes his worst injury as a fall on his left kneecap in 2012 that is "still sore to this day." As for his diet, Huston does not eat fast food or junk food, and he eats a lot of lean proteins like fish and chicken, as well as lots of vegetables. "Fortunately, my parents raised me with a very healthy diet and educated me about the value of nutrition," he told NBC Olympics. 

Huston’s mother, Kelle, helped him start a nonprofit called, Let It Flow, which repairs broken water wells and distributes water filtration systems in third-world countries.

The nonprofit, which was started in 2011, was inspired by the challenges of the family getting clean water while living on a farm in Puerto Rico. "We would often have to carry water [barrels] up into our house," Huston told NBC Olympics. 

Huston is the best in the world, and he has a massive social following, with more than 4.5 million followers on Instagram alone.

He told CNBC in February that he is excited to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. “It’s going to be the biggest contest ever,” he told CNBC Make It. He is the clear favorite, but he says he will treat the major event like any other competition he's competed in. Even after the Olympic Games were pushed back, Huston focused on improving. “When it comes down to it, to me, it’s the funnest thing in the world,” he said. “And there’s this constant challenge and reward to learning new tricks and working on something for hours and then finally landing it.”

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