Matt Berger’s grandmother Renee gave him a big-box retailer skateboard when he was 4 years previous.
Berger did not contact it for over a yr, till he was impressed by an older skateboarding cousin to offer it a attempt.
“He bought on it and by no means bought off it,” his father Mike stated. “He was skating, in all probability day by day by the point he was about six years previous.”
Berger now has his face on cereal containers alongside Canadian Olympians Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse.
“Who would have thought a skateboarder from Kamloops would have ended up on a cereal field?” Berger requested. “I positively was not anticipating that ever, so it is fairly cool.”
If the postponed Tokyo Olympic Video games go forward in 2021, Berger is monitoring to be among the many first Canadian skate boarders within the sport’s Olympic debut.
Athletes will compete in park and avenue boarding. Berger is presently ranked No. 1 in Canada and 17th on this planet in avenue, during which boarders do methods on, over, and round city obstacles.
The postponement of the Tokyo Video games due to the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Berger’s Olympic debut, but additionally purchased him treasured time.
WATCH | Mad Libs with Canadian skate boarders Berger, Decenzo:
Berger had cartilage and bone from a cadaver implanted into an issue proper knee in 2017. A earlier surgical procedure hadn’t solved the problem.
“I am very, very grateful that I had the entry to docs and was capable of do such a singular process and it really achieve success,” the 27-year-old informed The Canadian Press from Huntington Seashore, Calif., the place he resides.
“It was type of the final straw for me as a result of I did not actually know if I used to be going to have the ability to get my profession again or not. I had the primary conventional surgical procedure accomplished and it did not work.”
A lingering bone bruise beneath the implanted materials nonetheless wanted to heal, nonetheless.
“The well being of my knee was type of questionable if I used to be going to have the ability to face up to the entire back-to-back occasions main into the Olympics,” Berger stated.
“I used to be anxious I used to be going to get the Olympics and my physique was going to be so beat up due to the bone bruise I had on my knee. As a result of it bought postponed and I used to be capable of simply relaxation it. My knee is totally superb and I do not really feel any ache in any respect anymore.”
His dad and mom enrolled him in hockey, baseball, soccer and hip-hop lessons in Kamloops, B.C.
Informed his younger son seemingly had consideration deficit dysfunction (ADD), Mike Berger stated the structured practices of crew sports activities weren’t a match for Matt.
Matt Berger spent hours driving his skateboard on the household’s concrete yard patio.
“Once I bought launched to skateboarding, it simply type of captured me, simply the sensation of it,” Berger stated. “Once I began seeing movies of different skate boarders, I simply knew it was my factor.
“I used to be simply extraordinarily obsessive with it.”
His father put in rails and jumps on the again patio and finally took him to Riverside Skate Park which “is a crusty previous park, however he had numerous enjoyable there,” Mike stated.
Berger was mentored by native execs Stacy Gabriel and Derek Swaim, who inspired Mike to shoot video of his son to take to an area skateboard store for sponsorship.
“I believed, ‘wow, that’d be superior’ as a result of he was blowing by means of sneakers and skateboards”‘ Mike Berger stated.
Much like snowboarders, skate boarders make their residing by way of sponsorships and movies of their abilities, which in flip promote sponsors.
Skateboarding’s inclusion within the Olympic Video games opened extra company doorways for Berger, together with the aforementioned cereal field.
“I believe it is given skate boarders this chance to get help from locations that I believe as soon as type of seemed down on skateboarding,” he stated.
“When individuals who do not learn about skateboarding ask me what I do, after they hear that I am an Olympic skateboarder, it offers some kind of relativity to common folks, as a substitute of them simply pondering I am some, like, misfit skateboarder.”
WATCH | Difficult Matt Berger to an Olympic online game:
Competitors presently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Berger works on upping his degree of problem by driving his skateboard by means of his California neighbourhood streets.
He has entry to a personal gymnasium, which he calls “a lifesaver.”
“I have been engaged on a video mission since COVID began and that can launch at first of subsequent yr,” Berger stated.
“Simply because there isn’t any competitors doesn’t suggest that I can not be doing my very best to be my greatest on my board day by day.
“I am simply excited to go to Japan for the primary time hopefully and characterize the nation that has formed me into who I’m.”