Lizzie Armanto’s after-school options were ‘the skate park or the library’; now she’s a Tony Hawk protégé

Lizzie Armanto, photographed at Garvanza Skate Park in Los Angeles, has developed a thick skin in the male-dominated sport of skateboarding: “I know what I want and what my goals are.”
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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Skateboarder Lizzie Armanto credits her success in a male-dominated industry to her mother, Eva, who is an engineer. Eva took Lizzie and her younger brother to the skate park when they were kids as a form of after school care. She even casually picked up the sport herself.

It was her mom’s support that allowed Armanto, 27, to fall in love with skateboarding — and maybe one other reason:

“It was either the skate park or the library,” she says of her after-school options growing up.

Armanto was a gold medalist at the 2013 X Games in Barcelona. Photographed at Garvanza Skate Park in Los Angeles.
Armanto was a gold medalist at the 2013 X Games in Barcelona. Photographed at Garvanza Skate Park in Los Angeles.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

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Armanto took her passion to the next level and debuted at the X Games in 2013 in Barcelona where she won gold in Skateboard Park.

Among her many skating accomplishments include being sponsored by Vans, being the first woman to successfully complete Tony Hawk’s 360-loop ramp and being the first woman on the cover of TransWorld Skateboarding magazine. The American will represent Finland, her father’s native country, when skateboarding makes its Olympics debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

In 2019, Scout Bassett appeared in ESPN’s the Body Issue magazine to showcase a standard of beauty outside of the norm and to call attention to sports inequality in paralympic track and field.

But her greatest moment was when she became the first woman in more than 20 years to be featured on the cover of the iconic cultural magazine Thrasher about the same time Hawk’s Birdhouse company released a Lizzie Armanto pro model deck, officially signaling she’d reached the big leagues.

As Armanto continues to climb the ranks of skateboarding, she hopes to raise awareness about the realities of inequality for women in sports. She partnered with fellow skaters Samarria Brevard and Jenn Soto to create the emotive video “Above the Noise,” which shows them skating to a soundtrack of social media comments snarking about the inability of women to skate.

She’s developed a thick skin, she says, never questioning her role in the skating world.

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“I know what I want and what my goals are.”