In the First X-Games in 95. .. there was Laura Connery, Angie Walton, Donna Vano, Tosh Hodgson, Judy Elmes and myself, Kate Gengo. Vert skating was the hype in 95. Just think it was only 5 years ago and everyone calls me old school. However I was at the X-Games in 95 only as a witness and not a competitor. I was sessioning with these amazing girls. All the other ramp sports didn't have girls in the elite level. But we did. Stunt skating was what we called it and some how it became " Aggressive.
Let me start with one of my own idles Donna Vano. Some of you may already know who she is or how old she is. First I decided to tell you all about our history because Donna called me about an unpleasant experience she had at the first ASA pro tour stop.
Yes, she is one of the first women pros. She had broken her arm while competing and was judged unfairly. I won't go in to details about that because this is about how Donna influenced both the guys and the girls:
She has been skating since the mid 80s and is in her 40's. She is also a pro snowboarder and rides some of the biggest half pipes in the world.
(Above) - Donna doing a mute .. The girls (below right) are from left to right:
top-Katie Brown, Donna Vano & Stephanie Tolle
bottom: Michele Scott
I am very excited to say she will be attending the WASN Sk8 Fest 2000 so you all can meet her and see her smiling face. In fact, that is one of her trade marks, Her smiling face. Always at the top of the half pipe smiling. Donna Skated for Team Rollerblade in the early 90's teaching many people the fundamentals of skating.
She married another Team Rollerblade skater and after they said "I Do" they both dropped into a vert ramp. It was the wedding of the year. Both her and her husband, Allan, performed for many years on tour with Vans as their token inline vert skaters. They were doing shows with some of the top skaters and BMX riders in the world. She never hesitated to show anyone interested in learning to skate ramp "how to pump the ramp."
I remember visiting the Vano's who live in Lake Tahoe and they taught me how to do an invert on their ramp. They treated me like I was their sister. Yes the coolest couple with the vert ramp in their back yard. Many skaters and skate boarders would visit them and they would play host. Or the "Parents of skating."
Donna is still going strong producing her own snowboarding competitions and events in her area and I and pleased to have her join us this summer for the WASN Sk8 Fest 2000. Hope you all will get a chance to meet this great chick!
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