For immediate release
July 17, 2006
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

Skateboarding Icon Tony Hawk to Offer Personal Essay on This I Believe Segment on All Things Considered, July 24

Essay Examines Hawk's Belief in the Power of Taking Pride in Your Work

Washington, D.C. -- World-renowned pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk discusses his career and its challenges in an essay for the NPR series This I Believe airing on All Things Considered, Monday, July 24. Inspired by newsman Edward R. Murrow's 1950's radio program of the same name, This I Believe features Americans from all walks of life expressing their core beliefs and values in short, personal essays. Monday's essay features Hawk on the power of believing in oneself and pursuing dreams despite challenges associated with them.

Recalling his struggles with a public that doesn't value skateboarding as a valid profession, Hawk says, "I believe that people should take pride in what they do, even if it is scorned or misunderstood by the public at large." Despite the odds, Hawk continued his pursuit of becoming a professional skateboarder, and adds, "I've come to realize that the only way to master something is to keep at it -- despite the bloody knees, despite the twisted ankles, despite the mocking crowds." In discussing the negative stereotypes still associated with skateboarding, he says, "The pro skaters I know are... fathers, homeowners, world travelers, and successful entrepreneurs. Their hairdos and tattoos are simply part of our culture, even when they raise eyebrows during PTA meetings."

Known as one of the world's top pro-skateboarders, Hawk entered the profession at 14 and has since competed in over 100 skating competitions, placing first in 73 and giving him the best record in skateboarding history. Hawk retired from professional skateboarding in 1999. Today, he runs the Tony Hawk Foundation, a program designed to help lower-income neighborhoods build local skate parks. He also runs a professional skateboard tour and has created one of the best-selling, award-winning video game franchises.

Hawk joins an impressive list of well-known essayists who have contributed to the series since its premiere on April 4, 2005, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Senator John McCain; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; magician Penn Jillette; activist Gloria Steinem; author John Updike; psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and scientist Brian Greene.

This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners who have submitted more than 14,000 essays ranging from revelations about parents, personal struggles, race and identity to the importance of feeding monkeys.

This I Believe essay writing has been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations, and essays have also been read or played at weddings and funerals. The series is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers.

Check for stations and times of All Things Considered. To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on To listen or to read past essays please visit