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Skateboarding Olympian raises money for Sarasota skate park addition

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Posted at 9:26 PM, Jun 28, 2021

SARASOTA, Fla. — Since Jake Ilardi was a little boy, he always wanted to be a professional skateboarder, according to his grandmother.

"He always said he was going to be a professional skateboarder. I thought it would pass but it just got worse and worse, or better and better, I guess you could say," said Paulette Moulton, Ilardi's grandmother.

And next month that dream comes true. Ilardi, 24, will be one of 12 skateboarders representing Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. This being the first year skateboarding is an official Olympic sport.

"I told myself that I want to be a pro-skater one day and every time I came to the park that goal was in the back of my mind," said Ilardi.

In the past few months, Ilardi raised more than $15,000 to build a new quarter pipe at the Payne Skate Park in downtown Sarasota where he and many others skate.

The new addition was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting on Monday.

"For all the kids out there watching, whatever dream you have, whether big or small, if you put your hard work and mind to it, you can achieve it, I’m proof of it," said Ilardi.