Professional skateboarder Manny Santiago was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts — both a far cry from the world stage that is the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. As skateboarding makes its Olympic debut this year, Santiago toes the line between unbridled excitement and unemotional poise.
The 35-year-old fell in love with the sport more than two decades ago, picking up his first skateboard at 14. His passion for mastering new tricks quickly propelled him to be a sponsored skateboarder within three short years. Along the way, Manny left his mark on plenty of amateur contests, winning several best trick competitions and the coveted Dew Tour Rookie of the Year in 2011.
His ferociously reckless approach to skating earned him the nickname “Manny Slays All,” while his passion, personality & attitude quickly made him a fan favorite. He’s instantly recognizable, not only from his riding style, but from his (sometimes) blue hair and conspicuously missing front tooth, which he lost in a 2009 skateboarding accident. If anything, the gap in his teeth enhanced his signature smile and did nothing to damage his ceaseless positivity.
To the uninitiated, the sport of skateboarding doesn’t immediately evoke images of highly trained athletes, proper nutrition, or even a structured practice regimen. But that’s the opportunity that the Olympics presents — elevating ‘skateboarding’ to the ‘sport of skateboarding,’ giving it legitimacy and respect.
For Manny Santiago, the stakes are even higher because he’s got a chance to be the first male Gold Medalist in Puerto Rican history (fellow countrywoman Monica Puig brought home the country’s first ever gold medal in women’s tennis at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.) Despite the perceived pressure, Manny is staying calm, cool & collected about the whole thing.
To prepare for the Olympics, Manny’s training regimen contains plenty of skating (and plenty of rest), but the deeper you dive into the details, the more interesting the story gets. From cold showers in the morning to ice baths in the evening, Manny epitomizes the idea of short-term discomfort to achieve long term goals.
Manny has followed a vegan diet for the past 9 years, and he has recently gone gluten free to rid himself of any sluggishness brought on by gluten-heavy foods. He practices yoga and is quite disciplined about the conventional weight-room-type workouts he does. That is to say, he is in tune with his body and always does enough to make an impact and never so much that it would lead to injury.
Manny knows that to be the best in his sport means that he must be the best version of himself, mentally and physically. To maintain total body wellness, he enjoys the flavor and benefits of Just Live’s vegan CBD gummies, and when dealing with the inevitable bumps, bruises & other nagging injuries that come with such a physical sport, Manny turns to Just Live’s Pain Relief Roll-On Cream.
Skateboarding at the Olympics begins on July 25th and runs through August 5th — Manny will participate in the Men’s Street event (July 25) and we invite you to join us in rooting him on!
Manny’s Product Picks: