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Olympic Dreams: The Queen of KONA Skate Park

Skateboarding is among four sports that will make Olympic debuts during Tokyo 2020. Florida Skateboard Hall of Famer, Peggy Turner, says it's about time.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo games on Sunday.

Florida Skateboard Hall of Famer, Peggy Turner has achieved acclaim in the sport, but she never had the opportunity to compete on the Olympic level. Born in 1962, her generation of skateboarders could only imagine what today’s skaters will have the opportunity to achieve.

Turner is incredibly passionate about what many argue is much more than a sport. They profess that it's a lifestyle.

"I love that sound,” Turner said with a smile on her face while sitting on KONA skatepark’s course. “The wheels on the concrete. I want to skate so bad I can't stand it. It hurts my heart not to skate." 

It's a love relatively few people can truly understand. Just a few weeks shy of her 59th birthday, the skateboarding superstar reminisced while surrounded by younger skaters, with pictures from her heyday.

“I so wish that I could start over at that age in this time,” Turner said.

Nearby, Wriston Senna fearlessly takes on KONA’s famous snake run. The possibilities are different for the eight-year-old who could one day end up on the world stage.

“You couldn't go to the Olympics and buddy, we thought we were going to the Olympics and we didn’t,” Turner said as she shook her head. “You know it never came about, so everybody just kept the amateur status and we were entering pro-contests and you would take prizes instead of money. Just hoping that the Olympics was gonna take skateboarding but never happened in my childhood.”

It's now one of four sports making an Olympic debut in TOKYO 2020.

"There's been so much talent for so many years and I never could understand why it took so long,” Turner said. “It's awesome because it deserves to be in there!”

The woman dubbed "Queen of KONA" is often recognized among her peers, whether she’s on or off her board.

“I got a hurt foot and shoulder right now, so I can't (skateboard),” Turner said as tears slowly filled her eyes. “It sucks when you love something so much. If I can't ride I can at least be part of the scene. You know.”

A scene filled with a community turned family of passionate skaters who see their boards and courses as more than a sport. For many of them, it is a way of life.

Skateboarding has been approved for the 2024 Paris Games. It is one of four new sports that will debut during TOKYO 2020.  

Credit: KONA Skatepark