Nils Jansons has become known worldwide in the blade community for his prowess on skates. But did you also know he’s a tireless ambassador for the sport, working year-round throughout Europe and his home country of Latvia to expose more people to blading and help showcase the lifestyle many aspire to? One of his standout achievements is the increased visibility of blading at the Ghetto Games, an event held annually in Latvia. We asked Nils a couple questions to learn more about how all these came together, and he happily obliged. Here’s he is speaking about the 2014 Ghetto Games.
* * * *
Nils, how did you come to be involved with Ghetto Games?
It all started many years ago. One of the main organizers is an old school blader as well. Since Latvia is such a small place everyone’s got to stick together to make something big. Pretty much everyone knows everyone and everyone helps everyone. It used to be just a competition at a local skatepark in Riga, but for the past three years it’s been a festival and every year just getting bigger and bigger. To make sure it became better known in the blading community I started helping to make the blading part of the event as big as possible.
How has the event changed over the years?
This year it attracted more spectators and riders then ever before. It used to be more just for us — the riders — now it has got to the point where it’s an amazing show for everyone who comes to watch. It used to be more like a regular competition, but now it’s more like gathering for awesome people, no matter if they blade or do anything else that they like. Everyone gets together to share positivity and watch some ridiculous tricks — easy as that.
What is the response like from the community and other action sports?
Everyone loves blading over here. Maybe not too many people do it, but people sure enjoy watching. Same with the other action sports — we love watching some amazing bmx stunts and they enjoy seeing what we are capable off. Everyone gets along very well over here. And after this year’s show people want to see more for sure.
Any words of encouragement or advice for other skaters looking to start a contest or get involved?
If you get together the right people, it will be laced. Always remember the purpose — for the people to have a good time doing what they love and share the positive energy.
Anything specific from this year’s event that you want to call out?
I’m glad we could see a double flip attemp from Roman Abrate which made a lot of people speachless. And if you were not there, then come visit next year for sure.
Thank you everyone who came to be part and show this sport/lifestyle to Latvia, we had a blast. And congrats to all the riders and winners who pushed the level of blading competition here in Latvia. We all are street skaters and love tech stuff with switch/regular lines and creative spots, but this is different, this is for pushing the limits in the skatepark, that’s what park comps are about — go big or go home.
Hell yeah! Thanks for sharing, Nils, and keep doing what you do. We also wish you a speedy recovery after your surgery.