Airdate: Nov 18, 2008
Scientist: Paul Schmitt
KSC Skateboard - Ollie
Skateboarding tricks begin with a basic trick called the Ollie.
music; ambience skateboard park
Schmitt: â€œYou know, so itâ€™s an amazing trick that mystifies people.â€
It may seem like an impossible feat, but itâ€™s one of the fundamentals of skateboarding. Today, a look at the forces at play behind a trick called the Ollie. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Pro skateboarder Jeremy Wray.
Wray: â€œThe Ollie is the basis of modern street skateboarding. Every time you need to get onto a handrail or get onto a ledge or do anything, you have to hit the tail. You gotta get the board off the ground. It all starts with an Ollie.â€
Paul Schmitt is the founder of createAskate.org and a major skateboard manufacturer.
Schmitt: â€œAn Ollieâ€™s a trick where people that donâ€™t understand skateboarding think itâ€™s magical. You see a guy skatinâ€™ down the street, and thereâ€™s a fire hydrant, and heâ€™ll jump over it with his skateboard with no ramp or tools or anything. And what happens with an Ollie, itâ€™s basically an energy transfer. Heâ€™s takinâ€™ that energy thatâ€™s moving forward, and he slaps the tail on the ground, and he jumps in the air, and the board hops up to his feet, and heâ€™s got a style and skill to do that. He sucks up his knees to make it go higher with him, and it looks like itâ€™s totally Velcroed to his feet, and he flies over the obstacle. Now, in street skating itâ€™s the basis for almost every trick cause you Ollie in and out of everything you do.â€
And how did the Ollie get its name?
Schmitt: â€œThereâ€™s a guy named Allen Gelfand, from Hollywood, Florida. And at the skateboard park heâ€™d do this trick, and whenever they would leave the skate park, they would go to the burger joint. All he would ever eat was a Ollie burger, so they just started to call him Ollie. And thatâ€™s how the trick got named, so glad he didnâ€™t like eatinâ€™ Whoppers, because it just wouldnâ€™t work. Ollie was a really unique name that obviously stuck, you know, for many years.â€
Paul Schmitt is one of the participating scientists and engineers in the Kidsâ€™ Science Challenge, a nationwide competition for third to sixth graders. Check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner.