By the time he was 25, the legendary Tony Hawk had competed in 103 pro contests, winning 73 of them and finishing second in 19 - a record that will almost certainly never be matched. He retired at the top of his game in 1999, having been crowned vertical skating’s world champion 12 years in a row. He has since become a household name, and one of America’s most recognised athletes in any sport. His Pro Skater video game franchise has become one of the most popular and profitable in history, and his charitable foundation has donated more than $4 million to 525 skatepark projects throughout the country. Born in San Diego, California in 1968, Tony was nine when he was given his first skateboard - a blue fibreglass model, chipped and scratched from years of use. Practicing at the now-defunct Oasis Skatepark, he soon began to attract attention by performing manoeuvres well beyond his years. At the age of 12 he was winning amateur contests throughout California, two years later he turned pro, and at 16 he was already widely regarded as the best competitive skateboarder in the world. Tony had every move in the book, and more besides. His defining moment came at the X Games in 1999, when in front of a huge television audience, he became the first skateboarder to ever land a 900, a manoeuvre that had been eluding him for the previous ten years. It catapulted him into the mainstream, and he has never looked back.
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