DES MOINES, Iowa — In just a few days, hundreds of skateboarders from around the world will compete for a spot on their country's Olympic team from right here in Des Moines.
The 2021 Olympic-qualifying Dew Tour, taking place at the brand new Lauridsen Skate Park, kicks off May 20.
Sunday, construction crews continued to put finishing touches in place.
"While the Lauridsen skate park is amazing, and it’s already Olympic-caliber in its design, we come in for Dew Tour and tweak it a little bit," said Dew Tour spokesperson Melissa Gullotti. "We add in our own unique elements."
The competition will be divided into two skateboarding disciplines: park skateboarding, and street skateboarding. Over the weekend, athletes practiced in timed sessions.
"Because there are so many athletes, we have actually broken up the practices into heats," said Gullotti. "So everyone is assigned a heat so they can get their time in to get on the course and get a feel for it."
Getting a feel for the park is important, since none of the athletes have ever skated on it before.
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Local 5 caught up with pro street skateboarder Patrick Praman at the airport Friday when he flew in from Los Angeles. Praman said he had never even seen a picture of the park. And like many ahtletes, he hasn't competed in a year due to COVID.
"Taking a break was kind of nice, but a year break was a little weird, for sure," said Praman. "And then there's a lot of procedures like COVID tests, and I think we do testing every day at the event."
Gullotti says the Dew Tour is taking all COVID precautions seriously in order to adhere to the Worldskate guidelines. By doing so, they're able to welcome fans in person.
"We are so excited about the fact that we’re actually able to open Dew Tour to fans, even though it’s a limited amount of fans," said Gullotti.
Though the free tickets sold out within days, you can stream the Dew Tour at this link.