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Pro-skateboarder visits Norwich to promote sport a fortnight after 2020 Olympics news

Professional skateboarder Brian Sumner at Eaton Park skate park.

Picture: James Bass

Professional skateboarder Brian Sumner at Eaton Park skate park. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2016

A pro-skateboarder and pastor enjoyed a whistle-stop trip to Norwich to promote the sport to young athletes.

General view of Eaton Park skate park.

Picture: James BassGeneral view of Eaton Park skate park. Picture: James Bass

Brian Sumner spent yesterday afternoon at Eaton Park, performing tricks and meeting budding skateboarders.

Liverpool-born Mr Sumner moved to America aged 15 to pursue the sport, turning professional three years later and going on to compete for top skateboarding companies.

He said his visit blended both his love for the sport and his Christian faith.

“I’ve been visiting different churches and skate parks to share the gospel, see what’s going on and do some tricks with the people who are there,” he said. “We’ve had a great reaction so far.”

Professional skateboarder Brian Sumner at Eaton Park skate park.

Picture: James BassProfessional skateboarder Brian Sumner at Eaton Park skate park. Picture: James Bass

It came just two weeks after the International Olympics Committee (IOC) voted to introduce skateboarding to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Mr Sumner, who appeared with Stowmarket baptist minister and former UK skateboarding champion Stephen Nowak, said he had “mixed feelings” about the news.

“I wouldn’t want it to become too generic and all about the tricks,” he said. “But I think that if it’s done right and you’ve got teams from all over the world competing and having fun, it could be really exciting.”

In recent years, skateboarding has seen a rise in popularity, with most towns and villages now home to a park.

Mr Sumner said that in America, the sport had become “the new baseball”, with many fathers and sons skateboarding together thanks to its prominence on television and the internet.

Yesterday, Mr Sumner, who has also directed and appeared in skateboarding films, stopped at Suffolk skate parks in Ipswich, Framlingham, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds.

Do you have an unusual Norwich story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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