Umhlanga skateboarder blows people's minds at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Umhlanga skateboarder blows people's minds at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

We are being represented well by a skateboarding veteran from Durban at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Dalla Oberholzer

If you've been a Durbanite for long enough, you might know Dallas Oberholzer. If not, he is one of the most interesting people one could ever meet - The Guardian have already alluded to this. He is a 46-year old Olympic skater from Umhlanga, Durban. 

He started skateboarding at the age of 10 and finally got to show his stuff on the world stage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He is deemed the oldest South African Olympian and we are beyond proud to have it be someone as cool, laid-back, and interesting as him - all the way from Durban, too. 

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In his interview for the Tokyo 2020 website, he shared that he had never been in a 'proper' job. After being a commerce student, he decided to leave everything and travel the world. So a consistent 9 to 5, or like our team maybe, a 6 to 9 - he has never been in such an institution. But this has only made his life much more interesting because of the side gigs he would do in order to commit to his lifelong skateboarding passion. 

"I've stuck with skateboarding, I have taken a big gamble, but I'm sticking with my passion,” he said. “I'm like the crazy artist." 

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The Guardian also had their own chance to experience the refreshing energy of Oberholzer. He talked to them about his real reason for being at the Olympics. You might not be too shocked to know it was not necessarily about winning but seeing through his heart and soul's passion at the biggest event of them all. He shares that he had heard in 2016 that the Olympics would introduce skateboarding, so he thought to himself, ‘Well I’ve got nothing else to do, so let’s stick it.'

The nomad who arrived in Durban 20 years ago shared that skateboarding has not been a financially rewarding sport or job. This might be the case, but he appreciated that in South Africa he is one of the first people to pursue a livelihood from skateboarding.

His goals and feelings about skateboarding match those of his fellow skateboarder, the legendary Rune Glifberg from Denmark. He is the oldest athlete at the Olympics. They share with The Guardian that their sport is truly about the "camaraderie and friendship”. 

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When Oberholzer was aged 18, like the skateboarding winner at the Olympics, he shares that skating was taboo and basically a waste of time. It is now a humbling and rewarding feeling knowing that it is taken seriously.

He founded non-profit organisations the Indigo Youth Movement and Indigo Skate Camp, which runs youth interventions and after-school skate programmes for underprivileged children. More than anything, he wants to make the possibilities endless for the children in these communities. 

He continued to share that he really enjoys the integration that that the sport allows. 

“Skateboarding is the most integrated activity in South Africa and it’s high time the government embraced it. There’s no need for racial quotas in skateboarding. It’s naturally the way it is. I know my successors will be of colour and I know they will be here soon.”

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In his interview with The Guardian, he had blown them away by having varying interesting life experiences like being Janet Jackson's driver, travelling the Amazon, and paragliding off Sugarloaf Mountain.

This one is way more mind-blowing: "He walked into a Zulu village, stony broke but with his skateboard and started teaching tricks to the kids. They liked it so much they ended up giving me a piece of land. If I didn’t have that I would probably be on the streets.” 

How cool is that?  

He shares that when he chose skateboarding over mainstream sports, people had much to say like, "Dude, you're still skateboarding? Really?". 

But we think his passion is to be commended globally. He has finally done something that feels rewarding to him - the Olympics. 


Main Image Courtesy: @dallasafrica

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