Nyjah Huston’s Long, Strange Skateboarding Ride to the Olympics

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“I think it’s the future of street and park skateboarding if it can get through the junior years,” said Dan Bostick, World Cup Skateboard President.

In the same article, Adeyemi Huston admitted that the attention was overwhelming. He covered all aspects of Nyjah’s career, including management, coaching, travel, filming. From 2006 to 2008, between the ages of 11 and 13, Nyjah earned an average of $310,000 a year in sponsorships and contest earnings, according to court documents.

“We are learning,” Adeyemi Huston said. We’ve established guidelines to keep deception and distraction out of his sight.”

He moved the family to Puerto Rico to really keep it a secret. They found an isolated mountain farm. It was a life of tropical fruits and farm animals, reggae music and marijuana, off-road bikes and board games. Water and electricity came and went.

“The two young people liked it,” said Kelle Huston. “But the elders were devastated and the Nyjah in the middle was devastated too, because there was nowhere to run. Here is 21 acres of land. Adeyemi says, ‘Oh, don’t worry Ny, I’ll build you a training facility here.’

This illusion was shattered, with family, under competing social isolation and Nyjah’s growing notoriety. Skateboard links left. Shows and competitions were missed. Sponsors were frustrated. Nyjah’s first full year earnings in Puerto Rico were half that of the previous year.

During the two years of the Puerto Rico experiment, Kelle Huston devised an escape plan. While taking the other kids to visit California, 13-year-old Adeyemi and Nyjah traveled overseas. He had no intention of returning.

“I had to leave Nyjah behind because it was the only safe way for me to get out,” he said. “Nyjah got on the van to say goodbye to his brothers and me. Nyjah and I looked at each other and we both cried silently. He knew. He knew what I was doing.”

9-year-old Isha fought to return to Puerto Rico to visit her father. Her mother relented and Isha stayed. He and Nyjah lived with Adeyemi in Puerto Rico for about a year.

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