While Nyjah Huston, Garrett Reynolds and Jackson Strong continue to attract the headlines ahead of X Games Sydney, it is teenage skateboarding sensation Hayley Wilson that is one name you may remember after it.
At just 16 years-old, Wilson is regarded as one of the most exciting female skateboarders on the planet and is all set to challenge for a medal at the inaugural X Games to be held in Sydney from 19-21 October at Spotless Stadium.
Wilson was the youngest female competitor at X Games Minneapolis last year and with that experience under her belt, and a solid year competing around Europe, the prospects look bright for the bubbly teenager from Mansfield, in regional Victoria.
This rapid-fire journey to the top started harmlessly enough when at just 8 years-old, Wilson saved up all her pocket money to buy a plastic skateboard from a local second-hand store in her sleepy hometown.
Within two years she was competing in national competitions before securing a scholarship with the Victorian Institute of Sport.
Now the teenager has two coaches, a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike and one eye on being selected in the Australian Olympic team to compete at the inaugural Women’s skateboarding event at Tokyo 2020.
First though, comes X Games Sydney and the chance to compete against the best female street skaters on the planet.
Japan’s Aori Nishimura, Brazilian Leticia Bufoni and Mariah Duran from the US, headline a blockbuster field in what is always one of the most anticipated events on the X Games schedule.
22year-old Mariah Duran won gold at X Games Minneapolis in July, while Bufoni has claimed 9 X Games medals (including 4 gold) and is regarded as one of the greatest female skateboarders of all time.
At just 17 years-old Nishimura won gold at X Games Minneapolis 2017 and like Wilson, is widely regarded as the future of the sport.
“When I saw the field, I was blown away to be honest” Wilson said.
“This really is the best of the best in the world right now and I’m kind of humbled to be given a chance to go out there in front of all my friends and family.
“Seeing Aori win gold last year really gave me confidence to believe that it doesn’t matter how old or experienced you are, it’s all about preparing as best you can and just backing yourself.
I’ve had a fantastic preparation and now I just can’t wait to get out there!” Wilson said.
Image credit: Mark Watson