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.