We asked skateboarder Jack (Jackeroo) Olson to describe his winning move, a nollie heel: "It's when your feet are on the front of the board, and then you pop it and then lift with your back heel. And that's a nollie heel."
He might as well have said, "And that's nuclear fission."
In a sport that's all about indys, fakies and stalefish grabs, Olson is moving up with the sort of poise that a 14-year-old can bring to skills he's been working on for more than half of his life.
Olson, of St. Louis Park, first jumped on a skateboard when he was 6, following the lead of his older brother. So, was it something that clicked with him right off the bat?
"Yes. It. Was."
The kid has poise, no doubt about it. That's one reason he just earned a spot in the national finals of the Dew Action Sports Tour, taking top honors in his division at the recent Free Flow skateboard park competition in Des Moines. He'll be competing in Salt Lake City on Saturday, going up against skateboarders more than twice his age -- people in their 30s.
Olson, who attends St. Louis Park High School, has competed in about six contests this summer and counts the travel and opportunity to meet people as among the perks of the sport. For sure, it's not the health benefits.
"I've sprained four of my knuckles and broke my left arm twice," said Olson, although adding that one of the reasons he stopped rollerblading was that he broke a femur.
So, what's in his skateboarding repertoire?
"There are 10 tricks I do a lot and do good," he said.
"And do well," ahemed his father, Tom.
He's working toward a 360, which is just as crazy as it sounds when you're hurtling through the air with the prospect of landing on a strip of rolling board.
While skateboarding is a worldwide sport, Olson said he has no idea if it has Olympic possibilities.
"Some people think it could, but some people think it would be dumb," he said.
"Because too many people would start doing it," he said.
Olson practices at the 3rd Lair SkateParks in Golden Valley and Burnsville, thereby preserving his parents' yard. Tom Olson said the summer has been busy with travel and contests, but it's worth it "because I can see in his eyes that this is what he loves."
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185