Rodney Mullen

Johnny Rodney Mullen (born August 21, 1966 in Gainesville, Florida) is a professional skateboarder, and widely considered to be the most influential skateboarder in the history of the sport. The majority of ollie and flip tricks he invented throughout the 1980s, including the Kickflip and the Heelflip, which are regularly done in modern vertical and street skateboarding.

Despite Alan Gelfand's justifiable fame for inventing the ollie air (Gelfand's maneuver being primarily a vert or pool oriented trick), Mullen is largely responsible for the invention and development of the street ollie. The ability to manipulate a skateboard off of the ground no-handed and land back on it has been the most defining development for modern skateboarding. This invention alone would rank Mullen among the most important skateboarders of all time, along with Tony Alva, Mark Gonzales, Tony Hawk, Pat Duffy and Danny Way. After an initial struggle, Mullen succeeded in translating what had been this vert ariel to a flatground, stationary trick in 1982. He soon evolved it into a rolling trick and by 1983 had applied it in relationship to an obstacle, when he ollied over an unmanned skateboard. This revolutionary step for skateboarding allowed an inspired movement of skaters to quickly create a form which combined freestyle with vert, that would come to be known as street skating.

Mullen started skateboarding at age 10, when his father (who had opposed his son's wishes to practice the sport) finally agreed to give Rodney a skateboard on condition that he always wore pads, and with the understanding that if he were to ever get hurt, he would have to quit. On January 1, 1977 he bought his first skateboard. His first sponsor was Bill Murray at Inland Surf Shop where Rodney used to skate in their carpark. He rode a Walker Skateboard in his first contest at Kona in Jacksonville in 1977, placing third in Boys Freestyle. The 11-year old attracted the attention of skateboard manufacturer Bruce Walker and immediately became sponsored by Walker Skateboards. For the next 3 years, Rodney took first place in almost every contest he entered. His nearly 30 contest victories, mostly in Florida, culminated with a win at the Oceanside Nationals in May, 1979. At this time, Rodney's coaching influence came primarily from Barry Zaritsky, a skateboard and fitness enthusiast, who encouraged a radical, training regiment from him. In 1980, the week of his 14th birthday, Rodney entered his first pro contest and won first place at the Oasis Pro in San Diego against the world champion at the time, Steve Rocco. This milestone for Rodney solidified a new sponsorship for him with the legendary Powell Peralta Bones Brigade team, which he'd skate on for the next 8 years. In early 1989, Mullen would leave Powell Peralta to start World Industries with his old friend and first pro rival, Steve Rocco. His tenure riding for World Industries would mark the end of his freestyle career, as that form of skateboarding ceased to continue in the industry. By the time freestyle had come to an end in 1990, Rodney had won 34 freestyle competitions over 10 years, having been beaten only once by Per Welinder. This competition he still got second. This is considered to be the best record in skateboard history.

Going back as far as the late 1970s, Rodney Mullen has appeared in dozens of skateboard videos which chronicle much of modern, technical skating's evolution - from NSA (National Skateboard Association) contest victories, to corporate sponsor promotionals, to vintage home movies - most of which has been previously released to some extent. Among the more high profile video documentation of his is a feature film Gleaming the Cube, released in 1988. In it, Mullen and fellow Bones Brigade legend Mike McGill stunt-double for the actor Christian Slater. He also appeared as a guest on the nationwide tv show That's Incredible! in an episode that aired November, 1988. More traditional skate video roles of his include The Bones Brigade Video Show (1984), Future-Primitive: Bones Brigade Video II (1985), The Search for Animal Chin: Bones Brigade Video III (1986), Public Domain: Bones Brigade Video IV (1988), World Industries: Rubbish Heap (1989), Plan B: Second Hand Smoke (1995), and Almost: Round Three (2004).

In 1991, Rodney Mullen began transitioning into street skateboarding as the freestyle skateboard days came to an end. He picked up this more popular form of skateboarding quickly enough to have an influential and enduring part in the legendary skateboard video "Questionable" by Plan B Skateboards. This was followed up by his even more dramatic technical street skate part in "Virtual Reality" (1993). Fully evolving as a street skater throughout the 1990s, Rodney's newfound popularity as a street skater culminated with the "Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song" series, starring him and his friend Daewon Song.

In 2003, Rodney released his autobiography, "The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself". It tells the nearly complete story of his life from when he was a little kid with "torture boots", to when he proposed to his girlfriend Traci. All the while, the book keeps a hilarious, upbeat mood.

He continues to revolutionize the world of skateboarding and inspire kids all over the world who watch his videos, as well as to help bring back freestyle skateboarding for a new generation of fans. The number of skaters who now claim to skate freestyle has sharply increased after the release of Globe: Opinion, which featured a predominantly freestyle part from Rodney, which led to him winning Transworld's Readers Choice "Skater of the Year" in 2002.

Rodney Mullen also has appeared in the Tony Hawk Video-Game series from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 to the most recent Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. He will also appear in the forthcoming Tony Hawk's Project 8, making his seventh appearance in the series.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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