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Rodney Mullen Essay

1177 words - 5 pages

Rodney Mullen John Rodney Mullen[1] (born August 17, 1966) is a professional skateboarder, company owner, inventor, and public speaker who practices freestyle and street skateboarding. Mullen is credited with inventing numerous skateboarding tricks, including the flatground ollie, kickflip, heelflip, impossible, and 360-flip (also commonly known as the 'tre-flip' or '3-flip').[2 ] [3] Mullen has appeared in over 20 skateboarding videos and has co-authored an autobiography, entitled The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself, with writer Sean Mortimer.[4 ] [5]Mullen was born in Gainesville, Florida, United States, and began skateboarding at the age of ten, on New Years Day of 1977, after a neighborhood friend introduced him to a skateboard. He promised his strict father, a dentist, that he would cease skateboarding the first time he became seriously injured:My dad wouldn't let me have a skateboard. He thought I'd get hurt and never get good, and the culture was bums, and I'd turn into one. He was a dentist, but before that he was military, and there were times you'd call him, 'Sir.' New Year's Day he had a drink and felt better, and the skate shop was open. I learned to skate in our garage. We lived in the country in Florida, it was sort of farmish, and there was no cement anywhere else. Vert skating was the kind of skating that was done in pools, where you could get airborne and be weightless. The other style, which is what I did, was called free style, which was tricks you could do on flat ground[2]Mullen began practicing in the garage of the family home while wearing a comprehensive pads setup, a precaution that was part of the deal with his father, and spent time with his sister's surfer friends, who skateboarded on weekdays.[2 ] [6] Mullen became obsessed with the skateboard and practiced for many hours on a daily basis. As a child, Mullen slept in boots designed to correct a severe pigeon-toe condition. Despite Mullen's condition, "He had an incredible dexterity with his feet," in the words of Phil Chiocchio, former owner of the Florida skatepark Sensation Basin.[7]In 1978, having owned a skateboard for just over a year, Mullen placed fifth in the Boy's Freestyle category at the US Open Championships at Kona Skatepark in Jacksonville, Florida. Skateboard manufacturer Bruce Walker saw his performance and sponsored Mullen through Walker Skateboards from 1978 to 1980. Mullen's biggest influence in skateboarding at the time was a Walker professional skateboarder, Jim McCall, who was coached in his early years by Walker (Walker also coached a young Kelly Slater).[8] Mullen was also influenced in a positive manner by professional skateboarders from Florida to include: Ed Womble; George McClellan; Clyde Rodgers; Tim Scroggs; and Kelly Lynn.In later years, Mullen was coached by Barry Zaritzky (also known as "SIO Barry"), who owned a company called SiO Safety Shorts. When his family moved to a farm in a remote part of Florida, Mullen began...

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