Encinitas' Jagger Eaton, 20, stole the show at the first-ever Olympic skateboarding final on Saturday.
Eaton became the first American to win an Olympic skateboarding medal after earning bronze.
“This is just a childhood dream fulfilled and it would have been possible without my team,” Eaton told NBC 7.
Neal Mims is part of that team, after judging Eaton’s competitions for years.
“I had already heard about this Jagger Eaton kid, and he was 9, 10 years old at the time,” Mims said. “When I saw him skate for the first time, I was blown away.”
Eight years later, Mims now coaches and mentors the Arizona native.
“It's been quite a, quite a journey, and up to now it just hasn't been easy all the time, but it's been so incredible and I'm so proud of him and it's just exciting to be, you know, a part of skateboarding history,” Mims said.
Although Mims and the rest of Eaton's circle were forced to watch Eaton's performance stateside due to covid restrictions preventing them from traveling to Tokyo, they are continuing to show their full support.
“It's really unfortunate this whole thing that we're going through and what Tokyo is dealing with,” Mims said. “We're all there, we're on that board with him and it's, it's exhilarating, it's exciting, it's nerve wracking.”
He says with the help of a little technology, he was able to help Eaton through the historic day.
“We were in contact throughout the whole contest. When he calls, you know, like I say, I played calm with him. We pulled it on, and it worked, we faced on and we communicated the best way we could thanks to technology.”
Mims says Eaton’s made it this far because of more than just his athletic talent.
Skateboarding’s roots date back more than 50 years to Southern California, and for many, this moment is long overdue.
“The fact that it's been here for so long and [to be] unrecognized. You know as skateboarders it's been a little irritating,” Johnny Schillereff, founder of Eaton’s sponsor company The Heart Supply said.
After battling a controversial reputation for decades, the sport that celebrates culture as much as competition, along with Eaton, now have a promising future on the world’s biggest stage.
“Jagger is the greatest representation of skateboarding and what it needs to stand for than any other athlete I can think of in this sport,” Schillereff said.
“It's definitely a really good inspiration this gateway for all the younger generations coming up,” fellow skateboarder and longtime friend of Eaton, Rio Batan said.