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Since its inception, skateboarding’s popularity has increased far beyond expectations.

Due to the spike in participation, following, and culture, skateboarding worked its way to the best contest on earth, the Olympic Games. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics included skateboarding for the very first time, and among the American riders was Mariah Duran, a street skater. The Albuquerque, N.M. product had a series of competitions where she established herself, her career, and earned her spot.

Duran’s professional skateboarding career started back in 2016, when she took home a silver medal in the X Games that year, and credits her start in skateboarding to her brother. After that X Games win, Duran joined the team at Meow Skateboards, a company dedicated to growing the women’s skateboarding community. The company has created boards in collaboration with Duran and other pro skaters.

“I think the level and the number of [female] skaters are progressing every single day,” Duran said.

Duran knows that she represents a movement much larger than herself, and takes the time to make sure that female skaters are always a part of the conversation.

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Since her win in 2016, Duran has won gold at the X Games in 2018, both the Minneapolis and the Sydney contests. And while the X Games might be some of the only skating competitions people hear about, one of Duran’s favorites is the Dew Tour, sponsored by Mountain Dew, which is also one of Duran’s sponsors.

“The entire event is fun to attend,” Duran said. “Courses are always fun to skate. For my parents it’s their go-to contest because they can enjoy all the other tents set up and also watch the contest. It’s a good time for everyone.”

Going to the Olympics and representing your home country is something that most people dream of. Having the ability to represent the United States in their inaugural team is something, along with all the memories, Duran cherishes from her time in Tokyo. At that time, Duran was the number one street style skater in the U.S.

“It was amazing being part of the Olympics,” Duran said. “The opening ceremony was my favorite.”

In Tokyo, Duran finished 13th. It was not the finish Duran wanted, but a good foundation to go forward and continue to learn and grow, and hopefully qualify again in 2024.

Photo credits: Mariah Duran’s Instagram