South Lake local skateboarder, 15, makes 2022 Olympic Team
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – In 2014, South Lake Tahoe local Gavin Bottger was 7 years old, following his passion for skateboarding with daily sessions and competing around the west coast. With the help of his mom and dad, Renee and Scott Bottger, Gavin was able to document his journey through social media and grow his following, while gaining sponsorships from giants like Volcom and RedBull.
Now, over eight years later, Gavin has made 2022 USA Skateboarding National Team.
“I wasn’t expecting what happened was going to happen,” said Gavin. “I was just doing it for fun.”
The skateboarder is originally from South Lake Tahoe, where he began to skateboard at an incredibly young age. He was drawn to the sport by a friend’s father, who encouraged them to get outside and try something new. What started slowly for him became a fully-realized passion that had no plans of stopping.
Gavin was invited to be on the team of eight, with the three other men on his team breaking history by going to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year. Through a system of points that are compiled from Gavin’s competitions, it will be determined by 2024 if Gavin will be traveling to Paris in 2024 to represent America in the second ever Skateboarding competition in the Olympics.
The opportunity didn’t even cross Gavin’s mind until the process began to unfold before him.
“We were just doing a bunch of contests,” said Gavin. “All the stuff I was doing slowly became Olympic qualifiers. It feels pretty crazy. I never thought this would happen.”
Gavin’s parents have been his biggest supports, chronicling his journey through video complications on YouTube, which can still be viewed today. Much of his beginning work is filmed in Lake Tahoe, but Gavin explained that as he became more invested in the sport, he discovered how little the basin has to offer for it.
“It made me more excited to skate down here [in Southern California] and more driven to skate down here because the parks aren’t as good there,” said Gavin. For the years that he competed in South Lake Tahoe before moving to Southern California, Gavin recalled having to drive father distances for competitions since there was only one notable contest in South Lake Tahoe.
Gavin wasn’t able to get to this far all by himself. Him and his mother attribute much of his success to the people who helped lead him in the right direction and those who believed in him.
“I’m pretty supported by my friends and family,” said Gavin. Additionally, he was able to look up to great skateboarders that came before him, including John Cardiel, Nick Michel, and Rowan Zorilla.
Gavin Bottger was only 15 years old when his entire life changed and he got the news he made the Olympic team. For those who wanted to follow in his footsteps, he had a few words of wisdom.
“Never take it too serious,” said Gavin. “I always do it for fun. Never give up.”
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