Just keep skateboarding

By Liu Ning, Su Yingxiang, Yu Yang, Zhang Rong, Zhang Wenjie (People's Daily Online) 08:41, October 18, 2021

Rollerblading athlete, champion of the World Freestyle Skating Championships, director, entrepreneur, and ride-hailing driver... the now 28-year-old Shi Yilong has been given various titles. Now, he is a sports vlogger with more than 2 million followers.

Talking about those labels, he said: "I never regard myself as a 'slasher' who refused to be limited by just one identity. These titles are progressive, showcasing my step-by-step experience in life."

He started to learn rollerblading and entered the Beijing team at the age of 15, then joined the national team for freestyle skating and finished second in the World Championships at age 17. When he was 23, he retired and learned skateboarding and skiing. Shi Yilong has been fully exploring his life.

"After retiring, I went back to Beijing and tried some routine jobs, but I found that they were not what I wanted." He chose to quit after working in a financial company for about a year.

"The moment I stepped on the skateboard, I was free. Skateboarding brings me a sense of freedom and ignites my enthusiasm," Shi said.

Youths like him are often defined as "rebellious teenagers," but Shi has found there is another more positive interpretation: the term "rebellion" can represent attitude, persistence, and love. It is a process to repeatedly reassure himself. "I love to compete with myself," he said.

In others' eyes, Shi Yilong is a person who transformed the game into "something" else -- he launched his own company. "If you persist in doing one thing for 10 years, you will have your rewards. I was just like this. I have done what I love for many years. From a penniless person to a person with his own company, all I got came from love," Shi Yilong said.

As a group of people who first came into contact with skateboarding in China, Shi and his friends witnessed the sport grow from a niche interest into something more popular.

"In the first few years of skateboarding, there was nowhere for us to practice. Parks didn't let us skate and neither did neighborhoods." Without a skateboarding coach, Shi and his friends learned instead from overseas tutorials. He later started to make videos and tutorials by himself: "I hope people interested in skateboarding will have more and more channels to learn."

In August 2016, after the International Olympic Committee added skateboarding to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the niche sport gained more and more attention.

As the sport gradually became accepted among people, Shi said: "there were more skateboard parks and more places that allowed us to practice. We are no longer called a kind of 'street gang'."

Speaking of the charm of the sport, Shi Yilong said: "Wherever you go, as long as you have your skateboard with you, you’ll meet a bunch of likeminded friends with the same interest. Then you’ll treat each other as if you were playmates from childhood, with nothing at stake. It’s an innocent friendship that brings us together simply for our passion for skateboarding."

Skateboarding is a lifelong sport for all ages. Whether it is as young as a 3 or 4-year-old kid, or as old as 70 or 80 years old, people can enjoy skateboarding. "However, you can do different kinds of tricks at different ages. For example, we’ll challenge ourselves with more difficult tricks when we are young. Then after a while, you start to stylize your tricks. When we get older, all we might ask for is to just keep skateboarding," Shi Yilong said, "This is also my attitude towards life."

"In fact, whether it is skateboarding or skiing, for me, skateboarding means a lot more than the concept of a sport. It is a part of my life," Shi Yilong said. 

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Hongyu)


Related Stories