Nyjah Huston’s long, bizarre skateboarding trip to the Olympics


“If he can get through his teenage years, I think he’s the future of street and park skateboarding,” said Dan Bostick, president of World Cup Skateboarding at the time.

In the same article, Adeyemi Huston admitted that the attention was overwhelming. He has managed all aspects of Nyjah’s career – management, coaching, travel, filming. From 2006 to 2008, aged 11 to 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 have established principles to keep the hype and the distraction out of his sight.”

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

“The younger two liked it,” Kelle Huston said. “But the older ones were miserable, and Nyjah, in the middle, was too, because there was nowhere to escape. Here it is in 21 acres of land. Adeyemi said to me, ‘Oh, don’t worry, Ny, I’ll build you a training facility here.’ “

The illusion fractured, along with the family, under the competing tensions of social isolation and Nyjah’s growing fame. Relations with skateboarding have withered. Appearances and contests were missed. The sponsors became frustrated. Nyjah’s income in the first full year in Puerto Rico was half of what it was the year before.

Two years after the start of the Puerto Rico experiment, Kelle Huston devised an escape plan. She took the other children to visit California while Adeyemi and Nyjah, then 13, traveled overseas. She had no intention of going back.

“I had to leave Nyjah behind because that was the only safe route for me to get out,” she said. “Nyjah got out of the van to say goodbye to his siblings and me. Nyjah and I looked at each other and we both cried in silence. They had. He knew what I was doing.

Isha, then 9, struggled to return to Puerto Rico to visit her father. Her mother gave in and Isha stayed. She and Nyjah lived with Adeyemi in Puerto Rico for about a year.

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