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Squamish skateboarder aiming for the Olympics

Top Canadian skateboarder Jacob Sabourin-LeBlanc raising funds to compete
Jacob Sabourin-LeBlanc at the Squamish skatepark on Sunday.

Given that shortly after he could walk at eight months old, Squamish's Jacob Sabourin-LeBlanc stepped on a skateboard, it is not really surprising that at 17, he has his sights set on being on a board at the Olympic Games.

One of Canada's top skateboarders, LeBlanc can often be found at the skatepark at the Squamish Youth Centre.

A member of the national Canadian Skateboard Team, Sabourin-LeBlanc is aiming for the 2020 or 2024 Olympics, but he has to earn the points to get there.

To earn the points, he needs to travel far and wide to competitions.

His dad, Mike LeBlanc, has launched a GoFundMe page, "Chase for continental and world Sk8 championships," to help his son continue to compete.

Competitions he hopes to dominate start in May in Surrey, followed by Montreal, Halifax and beyond.

Jacob Sabourin-LeBlanc was featured in The Chief about 10 years ago for his skill on his skateboard. - File photo

"There are two continental contests before the 2020 Olympics, which will be the most important for me to get to as far as points go. Most likely both those contests will be in South America," Sabourin-LeBlanc told The Chief.

"This is all crazy and new to me. I’m very excited and look forward to progressing mentally and physically so I can hopefully compete on the world stage."

If he does well at the national and continental levels, he would qualify for the 2020 Games where skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo. If he doesn't quite make it for 2020, then he will strive for 2024, he said.

Though he is aiming high, skateboarding is still fun, he said.

"It is freedom... You can do it alone or you can do it with friends. It is an expression of who you are," he said.

"A great day at the skatepark is if you have a bunch of people, your friends — my dad, a bunch of his friends — ... and you are just practicing tricks and having a good time," he said, adding he progresses a lot more when he is enjoying himself.

For parents who may be considering skateboarding for their child, Sabourin-LeBlanc said it is a great sport for teaching resilience.

"No matter what happens, you are going to fail, so it teaches people that failure is OK. It is part of life," he said. "In skateboarding, every single day you are going to fail at something and you have to deal with that."