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A US Skateboarder Went to Tokyo With a Broken Ankle. He Still Won an Olympic Medal

Boston
SKATEBOARDING-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-PODIUM
SKATEBOARDING-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-PODIUM
AFP via Getty Images

Jagger Eaton won the bronze medal in the inaugural Street Skateboarding competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. Now back in the States, he’s still smiling about the entire experience because he’s doing what he absolutely loves.

“I’m obsessed with skateboarding,” Eaton said. “I mean, my ankle is broken.”

Wait.

What?

When did this happen?

“I’ve had my MRI results for awhile now.”

So, Eaton knew when he skated in the Olympic Games that he had a broken ankle.

“I really torqued my ankle three months ago,” the 20-year-old Eaton said. “I almost gave myself a spiral fracture.”

That’s what happens when a bone experiences extreme force, cracking diagonally and resembling a corkscrew. Eaton skated on it at the world championships in Rome in the first week of June to make sure he could qualify for the Olympic Games, and things got even worse.

“I tore two ligaments and gave myself two fractures.”

So, Jagger Eaton won an Olympic medal in one of the most physically demanding sports on Earth with a demolished ankle. He didn’t want to tell anyone to avoid any unnecessary drama.

“You bet your ass I’m not gonna complain,” Eaton said. “I am the most blessed kid on this Earth that I get to do what I love on that stage.”

Eaton had a medical staff helping with treatments and cortisone injections to get on the course, training no more than 30 minutes a day to preserve his body because he was absolutely not going to miss this chance.

 

“There is no bigger honor in sport to compete for your country, and that’s something I really wanted to do,” Eaton said. “I’m a very patriotic young man. When I got the opportunity to compete and actually put the uniform on the first time, it blew my mind.”

Combine that with his love of the sport and you get an unstoppable force … even against doctor’s orders.

“Just to go back to how much I love skateboarding, yesterday I needed a creative escape so I just went and skated yesterday,” Eaton said. “Like, I’m just in love with this, man. I’m in love with constantly trying to progress the sport because I live and breathe this.”

Eaton went to Encinitas Skate Park, one of the iconic spots in skate history. That’s among the many reasons the Arizona native moved to America’s Finest Skating City.

“I love Arizona but I had to be in San Diego,” Eaton said. “I just had to. The competition is so heavy. Everybody is so nice out here and kind, and supports skateboarding, and I love being around that. The parks are so amazing. The community does so much for skateboarding.”

Once Eaton gets back to 100% health, he’ll get back to competing with an eye on 2024 in Paris, where he’s looking for gold in both the skate and park disciplines.

“Oh, 100% I’ll go for both,” Eaton said. “That’s the goal, is to win two gold medals in park and street, and nobody is going to stop me from getting that.”

Eaton is one of the few skaters versatile enough to pull off that double. Given what he just endured to win bronze, unless he gets hit by lightning while being attacked by a shark, don’t bet against him pulling it off.

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