Skateboarder Jean-Marc breaking world records one trick at time
Cape Town-born skateboarder, Jean-Marc Johannes (28) is an international gold medallist and two-time Guinness World Record holder, but now he plans to conquer the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Johannes recently shattered the Guinness World Record for most fakie flips in just one minute. The record was set by US skateboarder Rob Dydek, in 2006.
This after breaking his first record and becoming the first ever skateboarder in the world to complete an Ollie Jump from one container to another, from a height of three stories.
Johannes is also the current FISE world series Am number one skateboarder, but now he has his sights set on the Olympics, where skateboarding will be represented for the first time.
SADC News spoke to Johannes after competing at SLS World Series in Los Angeles, where he gained more Olympic points.
When you were still an amateur skateboarder, did ever imagine that you would be where you are now?
Jean-Marc: Not at all. Street League and Olympics are the highest level in sport, that for me as a skateboarder is a long road from the beginning. To be pursuing both and being part of the SLS open world tour is a textbook definition of a dream come true.
What would you say have been the essential ingredients to your success?
Jean-Marc: Determination and hard work. Everything I have achieved up until this point was not given to me, none of it. I had to work twice as hard coming from Athlone with a very big dream.
What feeling do you get when you finally master a trick?
Jean-Marc: It’s a sense of accomplishment like no other. A mix of adrenaline and satisfaction only found in skateboarding.
When you put an idea into action from pure imagination and watch it become reality through hard work, it’s surreal.
In South Africa skateboarding as a career is still relatively new. How did you manage to breakthrough and make it a sustainable career?
Jean-Marc: Yes, it is, again it was through hard work and believing that it was possible. Just because something is difficult to achieve doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. I was at a point that career wise, skateboarding was all I had. When you get to point that in your heart and mind, know that there is now no longer room for failure or disbelief, you will achieve anything.
You recently competed at the global Street League Skateboarding series, how was that experience?
Jean-Marc: It was greater than I expected it to be, I landed 14 tricks back to back in two minutes and gained additional Olympic points following the gold, silver and bronze in previous World series. SLS is the highest level of skateboarding contest in the world and I knew my debut in the season open would either go two ways, either I land 5 good tricks, or I go full confidence and face the pressure head on. Thankfully I did just that and I’m looking forward to the next stop in Mexico.
Having competed in many international skating events, what would say the African skateboarding industry needs in order reach international level status?
Jean-Marc: Foundation and Structure.
You recently broke the nollie flips record. What motivated you to take on the challenge and what did it mean to you to conquer it?
Jean-marc: I first saw Rob Dyrdek set the record 13 years ago on TV. After I broke the First record, Rob’s one was very similar. I knew that it had been standing for more than a decade and that for me was the challenge.
You are also the first person in the world to complete the Ollie Jump, what does such a feat mean to you?
Jean-Marc: The container to container idea was something I thought of in high school and at the time it was just a crazy dream that would later manifest. To have done something that is now on permanent display in the sports museum was more than where I expected it to go. I never knew that by facing fear and achieving the impossible would impact the world the way it did.
You have won many accolades through skateboarding, but beyond that, what would say is the bigger vision?
Jean-Marc: To make sure others believe they can do the same, not just in skateboarding but in life. My vision is to see others do more, want more, go bigger, dream bigger and not ask for permission to do so.