Asia Lanzi is a young, very talented, Italian skateboarder. She comes from Cento – near Ferrara – in the region of Emilia-Romagna. Asia basically grew up on a board, since she first rode one when she was just three years old. Skateboarding is Asia’s greatest passion and the reason why she will represent Italy at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July-August.
Hello Asia! How are you doing? Tell me something about you, what is your background and how did your passion for skateboarding start?
I started practicing snowboarding when I was about three years old. Then, when I was six, my dad – who skateboarded when he was 14 years old – took me to try this sport and I have been practicing it ever since.
You really grew up on a board then! Did your gender influence the beginning of your career? I ask you this because many people do – unfairly – see skateboarding as a “boy sport” don’t they?
No, actually nothing similar happen to me. Maybe it’s because I was very young, but in my experience, I have always found very nice people. Everybody has always been nice to me. They have always helped me and encouraged me. Nobody ever said to me: “No, you are a girl, you cannot skateboard”.
Well, that’s nice! I have always thought that maybe this sport was for boys only.
No, it isn’t. People who have this kind of ideas are the ones who don’t practice this sport.
Moreover, in Italy, people are probably closed-minded toward skateboarding. They think that it is something “not so serious” – not a real sport – so maybe that’s the reason why right investments don’t take place.
Yes, exactly… just like me! Peeking your Instagram profile, I saw that you have a huge experience behind, even abroad, don’t you?
I do. In 2013 I started to participate in different competitions. I was eleven back then.
You must have travelled a lot!
Yes, I travelled most of Europe, then I’ve been to China and America.
So, have you been in different Countries to take part to competitions or is it because there are cutting-edge tracks abroad?
Most of the times I travelled abroad because of competitions but, for example, when I was in Barcelona I was on vacation with my parents. And even so, we went there because there are really beautiful tracks. I have to say that in other countries there are better structures than in Italy.
Actually, Asia told us that in Italy, skateboard is not well known – technically speaking – as football for instance, so the structures are sometimes abandoned or not well-kept. In most cases, the structures we have are also designed to allow young people to practice without damaging urban objects, such as benches or walls. Unfortunately, the real nature of skateboarding is precisely the concept of “street”, so it will always be a street sport. Moreover, in Italy, people are probably closed-minded toward skateboarding. They think that it is something “not so serious” – not a real sport – so maybe that’s the reason why right investments don’t take place.
Nowadays streetwear is something fashionable: so many skateboard brands are known.
Maybe now that skateboarding will be one of the Olympic disciplines, something will change. What do you think about it?
I sincerely hope so! For example here in Italy I saw that in cities like Milan they are constructing many places where you can skateboard. We, as skateboarders, need more places to practice, since a lot of young people are approaching to this sport.
I think this is a good thing. In your opinion, why does a young boy or girl start skateboarding? I mean, in addition to the passion, do you think there is also a sort of influence deriving from the society?
Yes, I think so. Nowadays streetwear is something fashionable: so many skateboard brands are known, and then social medias have contributed to improve the success of this discipline that is such a trend now.
You are a professional and a high-level athlete. Now you are training for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, aren’t you? How does it work? I guess there are various steps.
So, to be part of the National team they evaluate the results you obtained in the Italian championships and if you obtained results abroad. I was selected for the female street skateboarding and then, over the past three years, they organised different competitions all over the world and every competition gave you some points. Depending on your position within the ranking, they selected the best 20 athletes in the grid.
The World Championship in Rome was really important then. What kind of experience has been to compete in your Country?
I think that the strangest thing was that an event such as the World Championship took place here, in Italy. I have never seen anything like that here in our Country. It has been a competition full of tension because it was the last competition valid for the qualification, so I played it all. In addition, I represented Italy, so I felt all the pressure. But other than that, it has been a wonderful experience because people who worked within the Foro Italico supported me very much.
Asia remembers many competitions but the most significant so far has been the one that gave her the access to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The beautiful thing is that Asia, thanks to her talent and her skate, travelled a lot around the world and she discovered many different cultures, many new people and many realities.
If you had to think about you in 10 years, what is your secret wish?
I would like to be in California and live of skateboarding.
Follow Asia and join her on her olympic journey through her instagram.
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