VISTA, Calif. (KGTV): A new skatepark in Vista is becoming the center of the skateboarding world, as elite athletes get ready for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The California Training Facility opened in July. Already it's become a hub of international activity.
"The Chinese Women's National Team has been here for the last two months," says Senior Vice President Brian Harper. "Some of the girls on the Chinese team could barely drop in and start with some of this. And now they're almost at the level to be able to compete at some of these events."
Harper says he's also fielded calls from teams in Jamaica, Turkey, Argentina, Norway and other countries across Europe.
Skateboarding will be an Olympic event for the first time when the Summer Games get underway in Tokyo in 2020. Skaters will compete on both Park and Street Courses.
To meet a need for training, Harper and his partners with California Skateparks decided to build the new facility.
They say about 40 of the world's top skateboard riders have already made the facility their home and train there every day.
"We wanted to give the athletes a place that was most like what they would find in one of those event courses," says Harper.
The company has been hired to design and build the official courses for the 2020 Olympics. They already design and build skateparks for major competitions like the X-Games and Dew Tour, as well as smaller parks for cities.
Harper says putting this in Vista was a natural fit because many of the sport's top competitors and companies are already in San Diego County.
"There are more pro skateboarders that live right here in North County than anywhere else in the world," he says.
In addition to hosting elite athletes, the facility also does public skating events several times each week. They also offer private training for people trying to advance in the sport.
"This is all they want to do," says Harper. "They want to skateboard, and they want to develop, and they want to learn, that's why you come to us."