Felipe Gustavo of Brazil talks Olympics, skateboarding, music, and growing female participation

The legendary Brazilian skater joined the Olympic Channel Podcast for an interview about his career and why his biggest hero is his dad

By Ed Knowles
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

Felipe Gustavo of Brazil is one of the most legendary skateboarders on the planet.

He has forged a long career from a string of impressive contest performances with a series of well-respected video parts.

Apart from skating, Gustavo’s attitude and humble nature has also won him many fans.

His big goal for 2021 remains representing his country at the very first street skateboarding contest at the Olympic Games.

The competition for places at the Olympics will be tough – only two male Brazilians can have places at the street skateboarding category.

“If I skate, the Olympics [it] will be amazing. I'm going to put my heart [into it],” he said to the Olympic Channel Podcast.

“But if that doesn't happen… I'm happy with that.”

Gustavo spoke about his admiration for his father, why being humble is important, the female skate scene, and what music has been in his headphones recently.

Felipe Gustavo: On being like his dad

The story of Felipe’s dad selling his car to fund his son’s first international trip to a contest in the United States is infamous in the skateboarding community.

Gustavo went on to win the famous Tampa Am aged just 16 and his career took off from there.

“When I become a father, like, I just want to be like five percent what my dad was for me. That's what I want to do in life…

“I just want to be like my dad,” he told Olympic Channel, before sharing more details about why the car sale didn't go as smoothly as planned.

Felipe Gustavo: On injuries

Now aged 30, Felipe Gustavo recently suffered an injury to his toe and found it difficult to recover.

It’s given him a new respect for his body,

“I'm not as young as [I was] anymore. My whole thing is recovery and taking care of my body so I can skateboard.

“I just appreciate the life that I have - where I came from, the things that I [have] done, and how people recognise what I do for a living…

“That's a privilege. Not everybody can do that. So, I'm really grateful for everything.”

Felipe Gustavo: On being humble

Gratitude is one element to Gustavo’s life – another is his humility.

“I think being humble is the best…

“[It could be] over tomorrow. And who knows what? Just being grateful is one of the best things I think you can do."

Felipe Gustavo: On female skating

Skateboarding’s introduction to the Olympic programme has also meant more attention for female skating.

Gustavo is big friends with Leticia Bufoni.

“She's done a lot for skating. There's a lot of girls out skating because [of her].

“You got to skate park nowadays and there are [a lot of female skaters]. That's awesome.

“I feel like the [female] skateboarding community is growing and growing.”

Felipe Gustavo: On music

Gustavo was listening to Gospel music the day he won as a teenager in Tampa.

But he could be listening to pretty much anything given how he feels that day.

“Music is like a vibe for me, you know, like I wake up with a bunch of different things.

“I don't know, it's kind of hard to follow… [There are] too many nowadays. Too many rappers! Too many mix tapes!”