Rodney Mullen

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Rodney Mullen (born August 17, 1966 in Gainesville, Florida), is a professional freestyle and street skateboarder. He is considered by many to be the best skater in the history of skateboarding.[1] Mullen is credited with inventing the flatground ollie, the kickflip (originally called the "magic flip") in 1983, the heelflip, the impossible, and a long list of other original tricks.[2] Mullen is credited in numerous skateboarding videos, and has authored an autobiography entitled The Mutt: How to Skateboard and not Kill Yourself.[3]


Early life

Rodney Mullen was born in Gainesville, Florida, United States.[4] At age six, Mullen was diagnosed with pigeon toe and had to wear leg braces to fix the condition.[5] He began skateboarding on January 1, 1977 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 would always wear pads, and with the understanding that if he were to ever get hurt, he would have to quit.[2] He describes his interest in skateboarding: "I fell in love with skateboarding because it was individual. There were no teams, there were no captains ... it was completely opposite of what I saw in so many sports: It was creative. I could walk around with my skateboard at the skate park. I love skateboarding."[6]

Rodney began practicing in full pads, and spent time with his sister's surfer friends who would skateboard on the week days.[7] In 1978, having owned a skateboard for less than a year, Rodney placed 4th out of a group of older and more experienced professional skateboarders.


Rodney Mullen is widely considered the most influential skateboarder in the history of skateboarding. The majority of ollie and flip tricks he invented throughout the 1980s, including the flatground ollie, the Kickflip, the Heelflip, and the 360 flip 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 responsible for the invention and development of the street ollie. The ability to pop the board off of the ground and land back on the board while moving has quite likely been the most significant development in modern skateboarding. This invention alone would rank Mullen the most important skateboarder of all time.

As the popularity of freestyle skateboarding declined, Mullen was often urged to move his style toward street skating.[8] This is hinted at in the World Industries video Rubbish Heap, where Mullen's sequence ends with team member Jeremy Klein breaking Rodney's freestyle skateboard, and handing him a note from Steve Rocco, symbolizing the end of freestyle.[9]

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