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Barcelona skateboarder proves height is no big deal

3 mins read
A man looks at Bulgarian street skateboarder Petar "Stewie" Stantchev, 25, doing a trick, know as an ollie, in front of MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain November 11, 2020. Picture taken November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

By Nacho Doce

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Petar “Stewie” Stantchev has an arsenal of skateboarding tricks he likes to display on the streets of Barcelona, the sport’s European hotspot.

Bulgarian street skateboarder Petar “Stewie” Stantchev, 24, skates on a street in the Raval district, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain September 9, 2020. Picture taken September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The fact that he is about half the height of most of the people he skates with does not trouble him – he slides his board on the same ledges and jumps the same high stairs.

“I am aware that I have a problem, but we all have problems,” Stewie, who has achondroplasia, a genetic condition that results in short arms and legs, told Reuters.

Bulgarian street skateboarder Petar “Stewie” Stantchev, 25, does a trick, know as a backside heelflip, on a street in the Barceloneta district, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain November 3, 2020. Picture taken November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

He also has a muscular physique, his own recipe for happiness – “Be free to choose to do what you love” – and more than 105,000 Instagram followers.

“I admire him, because for us the ledge reaches our knees, while for him it is at the height of his waist, so he makes double the effort. As a skater, he is capable of anything, he is an incredible person,” said Pablo Perez, a fellow skateboarder.

Stewie, who speaks four languages and works a customer service night job for a motorcycle-renting app that sustains his skateboarding passion, started skating 10 years ago in Italy.

Bulgarian street skateboarder Petar “Stewie” Stantchev, 24, stands with his skate as police officers arrive at MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain October 12, 2020.Picture taken October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

His family settled there when he was seven, but he moved to Barcelona three years ago and can often be seen whizzing across a large square next to the MACBA Contemporary Art Museum.

Bulgarian street skateboarder Petar “Stewie” Stantchev, 25, does a trick, know as a nollie shuvit, in front of MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain November 17, 2020. Picture taken November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

“Many people think he might have less capabilities, but the truth is that he has the same if not more capabilities than anyone else because he has motivation and a mentality to do things with consistency,” said Chilean skateboarder Cata Diaz.

(Writing by Andrei Khalip; editing by John Stonestreet)

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