Courtenay resident Mike Prangnell, a former professional skateboarder, will be in Tokyo this summer when his sport debuts at the Olympic Games.
The 50-year-old will be the lone Canadian at the judging table when the competition begins early-August. He will be judging the park discipline of skateboarding, which also has a street component. There will be five judges for each discipline.
“It’s really tough in North America,” he said of Olympic qualifying. “They take a certain number of competitors from each continent. The Americas (Canada, U.S. and South America) is lumped into one continent.”
Prangnell grew up skateboarding, first in New Brunswick before moving to Vancouver in 1992. He became a professional skater later in the decade. As he neared the end of his pro career, people involved with events asked if he’d be interested in judging.
“I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Prangnell, who has always worked in the skateboard and snowboard industries. He has also been a journalist. “I’ve been to a lot of cities in the States that you probably would never travel to.”
With everything on pause due to COVID, it wasn’t until May when an Olympic qualifier was held in Des Moines, Iowa. A second event in Rio de Janeiro was cancelled due to travel restrictions.
“The only qualifying event we had for park was in Des Moines,” Prangnell said.