Skateboarding Phenom Minna Stess Has Sights Set on 2021 Olympics and Gaming World (Exclusive)

Minna Stess has already made a name for herself in the skateboarding world at just 14 years old. And had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, Minna would have been the talk of the summer as she was on track to represent Team USA in the Olympics in Tokyo. The games have been moved to next year, and Minna is ready to show off her skills in the world's biggest sporting event.

"I still have a few qualifiers left, which was obviously postponed now," she said exclusively to PopCulture.com. "I just have to wait for those. But I am excited to compete in the qualifiers." Minna is the youngest member of USA Skateboarding and earned the spot based on what she has done over the last seven years. In 2018, Minna finished in first place in the Mystic Skate Cup Ladies Bowl in Prague and second in the La Kantera in Spain. Minna, born and raised in Petaluma, California, enjoyed her experience competing overseas.

"They weren't as big as some of the other competitions, she said. "It was my first time in Europe, which was really fun. It was a good experience." Minna has also competed in the X Games last year in Minneapolis and said, "it's one of my favorite competitions because that park is so fun and I love skating with everyone there." Another major accomplishment Minna reached in 2019 was taking third place in the USA Skateboarding National Championships Women's Park Finals, which was a different experience for her.

"It was kind of a new thing because it's only the USA people," she said. "It was kind of eye-opening for me." While Minna makes an impact in the skateboarding world, she's also looking to make a name for herself in the gaming industry. She has officially joined XSET, which is a new gaming organization co-founded by notable esports execs Greg Selko, Wil Eddins, Clinton Sparks, and Framerate founder Marco Mereu. Minna is one of the featured launch members along with top Fortnite streamer Ashley "AshleyBTW" Morales, multi-media personality Erin Ashley Simon and Miami Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy.

"Skateboarding and gaming are similar because they are pretty male-dominated sports," Minna said. "But now I see a lot more girls being more accepted into skateboarding and hopefully gaming soon. And that kind of drew me into XSET because I wanted to be a part of that and the expansion of women in skateboarding, gaming and the diversity of gaming skateboarding."

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As for now, Minna is doing everything she can to get ready for her next event amid the pandemic. "I've been practicing in my backyard and I've been to a few other parks," she added. "I have a little skate park in my backyard that I can skate. I've been doing some Zoom workouts and just working out in my own time and trying to stay fit and healthy."