Skater Dallas Oberholzer, 46, faces teens at Tokyo Olympics

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Skater Dallas Oberholzer, 46, faces teens at Tokyo Olympics

He’s 46-years-old, sports a salt and pepper beard and somehow, only the second-oldest skateboarder to be competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

“My mom is finally happy with my life choices, bro,” Dallas Oberholzer, representing Team South Africa for the first-ever Olympic skateboarding contest, joked in a recent interview. 

“You know what a good feeling that is? It’s taken that long for my mom to acknowledge what I do with my life… That’s probably the best thing I’m taking out of this, is that my mom finally goes, ‘Wow.’” 

Oberholzer has been skating long before many of the scrawny teenagers he’ll be competing against Thursday were born and only Rune Glifberg, aka “the Danish Destroyer,” is older than him — but just by eight months. 

While he doesn't think he'll medal in Tokyo, Dallas Oberholzer is grateful that his "mom is finally happy" with his life choices.
While he doesn’t think he’ll medal in Tokyo, Dallas Oberholzer is grateful that his “mom is finally happy” with his life choices.
AP/Ben Curtis

“I’m not going to win. I am not going to get a medal,” he explained. 

“But, like, I am legitimately the best guy in Africa. By default, the best guy in Africa goes to the Olympics.”

The longtime wood pusher called the opportunity “unbelievably epic,” even if it means getting schooled by skaters half his age. 

“It’s all expenses paid and it’s going to be the best course I would have ever skated in my life.” 

Dallas Oberholzer takes part in a men's Park Skateboarding training session at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Dallas Oberholzer takes part in a men’s Park Skateboarding training session at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
AP/Ben Curtis

Oberholzer said his whole existence “has just been skateboarding” and following a brief tennis stint, he got his start in 1986 when he rented a VHS copy of the movie “Thrashin’” — a tale about skateboarding gangs that “made all our eyeballs pop out.” 


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“I remember just thinking to myself, ‘I could play tennis and let the ball have all the fun or I could be the ball,’” he recalled. 

“And I’m like, ‘I want to be the ball. I want to be the one flying around.’”

When Oberholzer first started skating, apartheid was just ending in South Africa and it was on the streets of Johannesburg that he first started to hanging out with black kids — an opportunity he never got while getting an education in segregated schools. 

Dallas Oberholzer has created the Indigo Youth Movement, building skateparks and ramps to give kids in tough neighborhoods an outlet outside of drugs and gangs.
Dallas Oberholzer has created the Indigo Youth Movement, which builds skateparks and ramps to give kids in tough South African neighborhoods an outlet outside of drugs and gangs.
AP/Denis Farrell

“It really helped me get over my apartheid upbringing,” he said. 

As an adult, Oberholzer has tried to pay it forward by creating the Indigo Youth Movement where he’s built multiple skateparks and ramps and given kids in tough neighborhoods an outlet outside of drugs and gangs. 

It’s not clear if he’ll will be gearing up to compete in Paris in 2024 but this week, it’ll just be about having fun. 

“I have got nothing to lose, nothing to prove. I know I am 46 and all I need to do is keep my cardio up so I can stay on my skateboard for 45 seconds,” he said. 

“I’m going to be the one smiling, bro. I hope. Or I will be having a mild heart attack.”

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