San Diego to Tokyo

Olympic Hopeful Presses on Despite Coronavirus Uncertainty

Tom Schaar of Carlsbad hopes to represent Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when skateboarding is set to makes its debut

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics represent a flickering light at the end of an increasingly dark tunnel for people around the world dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But, as anxious spectators prepare themselves for the possible postponement of yet another event -- this time the largest sporting competition known to humankind -- Tom Schaar of Carlsbad is fixing his focus on what's just in front of him.

At an early age, Schaar learned to avoid physical harm as a skateboarder, but now it's also about his mental and emotional well-being.

"I don't want to get too worked up about it, get super stressed out and not be able to skate as well," said Schaar, who admits to getting stressed easily.

The 20-year-old skater who competes in "park style" is currently ranked third in the U.S., which would give him the third and final spot on Team USA.

Under normal circumstances, he would still be skating in qualifying competitions around the world to earn points, which determine the rankings, but all of the qualifying competitions in 2020 have either been cancelled or postponed.

"It's kind of weird if you don't have any points right now. You're kind of screwed because there was supposed to be a lot more contests and a lot more time to catch up if you were injured or something like that," said Schaar.

Schaar said two major events in China have already been cancelled, and the next big qualifier in Lima, Peru, was recently postponed.

Novel coronavirus precautions aren't just impacting qualifying competitions, but training routines as well.

The California Training Facility in Vista, a private indoor skate park where Schaar frequently trains, especially in bad weather, just closed its doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, China in 2019.

Thankfully, Schaar, who lives in Carlsbad, has a large selection of outdoor skate parks to still choose from as he continues his training in the unofficial skateboarding capitol of the world -- San Diego's North County.

Schaar graduated from San Dieguito High School Academy and has been a pro-skater for more than two years, but he has been well known to fans ever since becoming the first skater to land a 1080 -- or three revolutions -- on a vertical ramp.

He is holding tight to the most recent statement by the International Olympic Committee which said, in part, "The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive."

The statement also encouraged athletes like Schaar to continue their training.

So, he's focusing on what he can control, starting with his skateboard, which can be seen blazing through local parks all while the world around him slows down a little more every day.

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