Next Tuesday a high school student from Encinitas will be representing Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.
Bryce Wettstein, 17, will be competing in the new park skateboarding event.
“It’s really hard to believe that we’re going on a plane tomorrow to Tokyo,” Wettstein said.
The San Dieguito High School Academy senior said she grew up skating in her hometown at the YMCA skatepark. She didn’t know then that her talent would qualify her for the Olympics one day.
Wettstein was asked, “When did you realize that you are really something special?”
“Honestly, for me, just hearing that makes me, like, get butterflies and almost tear up, because someone really thinks that?” the young athlete responded.
Wettstein’s Olympic debut was put on pause when the 2020 Olympics were canceled because of the pandemic.
“It was really, really difficult," Wettstein said. "We were really devastated, basically."
But Wettstein said the delay gave her the opportunity to grow and that she's now feeling excited about competing for the USA next week.
“To walk out knowing that this thing that I’ve equipped myself, for years to come, this event, I’m hoping I can land a trick that I’ve always dreamt about and really feel my feet on my skateboard and my head in the clouds,” Wettstein said.
Once Wettstein arrives in Tokyo, she'll follow strict COVID protocols.
“We do have to do a lot of COVID tests, a lot of paperwork,” Wettstein said.
Wettstein won’t be able to bring her family with her because of the pandemic, but she said she knows they’ll be watching her from home, and so will her longtime supporters. A large sign at the Encinitas YMCA skatepark reads" Congratulations! Bryce Wettstein, Best Wishes in Tokyo, From Your YMCA family”
“San Diego has given me countless opportunities," Wettstein said. "That local skatepark, the YMCA -- I grew up there. Like, really thinking about this, it always makes me want to cry because I’m, like, you have this timeline from when you were a child and you have all of these people, even one hand leading you up the vert ramp, even one voice telling you can be inspired by anything."
Wettstein is expected to compete Aug. 3.