How We Roll My Life


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How We Roll

Ella introduces her extraordinary world of wheelchair skating. With the World WCMX championships coming up in Texas, how will Ella and her friends do?


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'You ready?'

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'I'm Ella, and this is my friend Kumaka.

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'We use wheelchairs like you've never seen before.'

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Oh, what? Flying over that thing, huh?

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'We are competing to be the best in the world at wheelchair skating,

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'or WCMX.'

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Oh, my gosh. I love this. This is my thing.

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'But this is not a sport for the faint-hearted.

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'Are we tough enough?'

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I don't know if I still want to do this.

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What do you mean? You've been working on this for months.

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-'Strong enough?'

-Push, Kumaka. Push hard.

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'And good enough to be counted amongst the best in the world?

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'Just watch how we roll,

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'but don't try anything we get up to yourselves.

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'We've been practising.'

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Hi, I'm Ella, I'm 11 years old.

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This is my mom, that's my dad.

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Those are my brothers, and that's my little sister.

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And I am a skater girl.

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I live in Texas, USA,

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and my favourite thing in life is wheelchair skating,

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or WCMX.

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Over here is, like, all of my trophies.

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Most of them are for WCMX.

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'But I haven't always been a skater.'

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So this is my old tutu from when I did ballet.

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I guess I used to be pretty good at ballet.

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'I didn't use a wheelchair at all until I was nine years old.

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'I could walk and run and I loved doing ballet.

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'But then I picked up a nasty bug which made me very ill.

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'The rare virus attacked the muscles in my legs and damaged them so

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'badly, I couldn't walk any more. So now I use a wheelchair.

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'It makes me feel free.

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'I was really sure that skating wasn't my thing.

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And then I went down three or four ramps and I just thought,

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"Oh, my gosh, I love this, this is my thing."

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-Mom, I'm going to go and meet Erica.

-OK.

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'A lot are people, when they see me in a wheelchair,

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'it's oftentimes little kids,'

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and their mom or dad are always like, "No, don't look at her,

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"that's not nice."

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If it was anyone else, they wouldn't care.

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It would be better if they just said, "Hi."

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Or, "Your wheelchair's really cool," or something.

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I prefer wheeling to walking.

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In a way, it kinds of feel like I'm running, but I'm skating,

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just very fast.

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My friend Kumaka lives in California.

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He knows that to succeed at WCMX, he's going to have to work hard.

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To be an awesome skater,

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you will have to practise and practise and practise and practise

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every single day. How do I do a hand plant?

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You go, then you go down, then you hold.

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And part of that practice involves falling.

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A lot.

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Ow.

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Then, learning how to get back up again.

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You've got to unbuckle, and you've got to pick your chair up.

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Then you've got to bring it towards you.

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And you have to do it.

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I always do this because, if I fall, I never give up.

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And then you always have to make sure that your seat belt

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is on before you do tricks.

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If you don't keep your seat belt on, then you'll fall back.

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When Kumaka's not practising,

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he spends a lot of time at the beach with his two best friends,

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Luzi and Hunter, who also compete at WCMX with him.

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'I like Hunter because

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'he's always my friend, he always looks out for me.'

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He's always nice to me.

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-Oh, yes!

-'I like Luzi because she's my friend and she always'

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-cares about me.

-We're going to race from here all the way over there.

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-To that bin?

-Yes. To that bin.

-Ready, guys?

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-That bin?

-That bin.

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That bin.

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And all three of them are going to our competition.

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But getting on the beach can be a pain when you use a wheelchair.

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Unless you have someone who is willing to carry you down to

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the sea. Luckily for Kumaka, he's got his big brother,

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Kalani, with him to help.

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Kumaka, Luzi and Hunter all have spina bifida.

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Their spines didn't form fully in their mom's womb,

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so there was a hole there when they were born.

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They had a big operation to close it, but despite that,

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it meant they were paralysed from the chest down.

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So now, like me, they use wheelchairs.

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And it's not held them back.

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I'm going to run to it.

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There's one!

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THEY SCREAM

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THEY SCREAM

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Back in Texas, I'm heading out to practise.

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But as I've only been in a wheelchair two years,

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I'm still shy about people seeing me skate.

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And when my mom and I pull up, it's not as quiet as I'd hoped.

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-Hey, are you ready?

-No.

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I don't... There's a lot of people here.

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I don't want to... I don't want to go.

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Are you serious?

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I mean, yeah.

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You're too nervous to do this?

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I mean, we can go home if you want to, but you know that

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this weekend, you're going to be skating in front of a lot more

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people than that, right?

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-I know.

-You're sure you don't want to do this?

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-Not right now, no.

-Right, I'm not going to force you.

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We can go home. But you've got to practise at home, then.

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-OK.

-All right.

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I'm just a little disappointed that, like, we came

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to skate and I can't.

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I guess I'm just really nervous of all the people watching me.

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It hurts my heart for her, because it must be

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really, really painful to be that kind of shy and afraid.

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'I know I'm going to have to tackle my fears head on if I'm going to be

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'competing in front of all the crowds at the championships.'

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In California, Kumaka knows it's time to get serious

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about his training for the competition.

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OK, Kumaka, you're going to have to get really strong in your

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upper body, so you can push fast.

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Faster than everybody else.

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One, two...

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We're going to do this every day before Texas.

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Push, Kumaka. Push hard.

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WCMX requires serious upper body strength

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so that you can push your chair hard and pull off all the tricks.

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-You think you'd be able to be a basketball player, too?

-Yeah.

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-Why? Have you got the skills?

-Yes.

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Yes, I do. No, never mind, I don't.

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What would you rather do? Basketball or skating?

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-Skating.

-Why skating?

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Because it's fun. I'm better at skating.

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Because you missed that shot?

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With the World Championships only days away,

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my mom has come up with a plan to help me build my confidence.

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Right, so we're going to go into the skate shop.

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-You need new bearings.

-Mm-hm.

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But here's the thing. When we go in the skate shop,

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you have to get your bearings changed.

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I'm not going to do this for you.

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-OK?

-OK. But what if they don't

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understand because, like, I'm in a wheelchair,

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and they might laugh at me or something?

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They'll get it. They'll see that these are skateboard wheels.

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They know how to fix skateboard wheels.

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-All right.

-All by yourself. I'll pay for it, but you've got to do it.

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-OK.

-All right. Go.

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-Hello.

-What's up?

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I need to get my bearings changed.

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-Yeah, right on. Hop up here.

-OK.

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Have you ever changed wheelchair bearings before?

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No, but I can puts bearings in these SPS,

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because these are the same wheels I ride.

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I've just got to find the right tool.

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Are we getting this chair ready for something?

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Yeah, next weekend, I have a skating competition down in Grand Prairie.

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Rad. I hope you do good.

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I'm competing against, like, the best female skaters in the world,

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and one of them can do a back flip and...

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-Oh, wow.

-Yeah.

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'Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.'

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After a bit of last-minute preparation,

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it's time for us all to head to the World Championships.

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Kumaka has to travel 2,000 miles to

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Texas. But other people have come from all over the world to compete.

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CHEERING

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And there's one person we all look up to -

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the guy who invented this wild sport.

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I'm Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham.

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And I'm the number one WCMX rider in the world.

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Wheelz does tricks and stunts you wouldn't believe possible,

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in front of crowds of thousands of people.

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I'm just showing kids that the wheelchair doesn't define your

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abilities, and you can achieve anything you want.

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Wheelz's number one fan is Kumaka.

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It's his first time at the accommodation,

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and he's desperate to impress his hero.

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-I've been going down the big ramp.

-You've been going down the big ramp?

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-And I get this much air.

-Oh, what? Flying over that thing, huh?

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I flew, and then I landed it, and then I went...

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Have you cleared it yet?

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-Yeah.

-Oh, sweet.

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Oh, man, Kumaka's a great little kid.

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Just ever since I met him, he had a good spirit.

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And in the parks, he's just an animal.

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'While Kumaka has Wheelz to look up to, my hero is Katherine.'

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Go, Katherine!

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'She's the only girl to have ever landed a backflip in a wheelchair.

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'She's always there to give advice when I need it.'

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When you... When you get to the top, straighten up and, like,

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-lean forward so you don't go back.

-Right.

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'We decide to come outside to practise where there are

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'fewer people.

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'But I'm worried. At the competition,

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'there will be so many people watching me.'

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What, is it the crowds or, like, the people, the tricks?

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-Like...

-Um...all of it.

-Yeah, I get a little nervous, too,

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when I'm up there because everybody is looking at you,

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and you've just got to remember they all want you to do well.

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They're not cheering for you to do badly. And then I block all that out

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and just decide to go have fun.

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-Yeah.

-I don't care about what anybody else is doing,

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as long as I'm having fun.

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But what if I fall and I look really stupid?

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Well, you are going to fall because everybody falls in WCMX.

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Just look at all of these scratches, are just from...

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I just fall all over the place.

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And falling, to me, doesn't mean that you look stupid,

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it just means that you're trying hard.

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If you fall or scratch your chair or, you know, whatever,

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just don't worry about it because you have your helmet and pads on,

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nothing going to happen to you. You're already in a

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wheelchair, so... You know.

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As long as we're having fun, you know, doing our best,

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that's all that matters.

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But I know we're both going to do awesome in the contest.

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So let's get some practice in before the big day.

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'I still have so much to learn to be as fearless as Katherine.

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'And today, as we practice for qualifying,

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'it's not just about people watching us that we have to worry about.

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'We also have to worry about crashing hard.

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'Everyone who does this has to find the brave person inside,

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'and Kumaka's big struggle is with one stunt called the firecracker.

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'And Kumaka's finding it tough.'

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Want me to just pick you up?

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Put your hands up, like this.

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I was doing this, and then I was like this, and then I got

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-there.

-How come your helmet's not tight?

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'He's so determined, he's been practising over and over.

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'We all wear protective gear, and today,

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'it's especially important for Luzi.

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'She's never done this before.'

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This is my first time.

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You can do it, I know you can, Luzi.

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What if I fall?

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If you fall, you just get back up, OK?

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'Remember, everything we do is supervised.

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'You shouldn't try this on your own.'

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-Can you do it by yourself?

-No.

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-Help. Up.

-Are you sure?

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-Are you kidding me?

-No, I'm serious,

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I thought you were going to do it all by yourself.

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Concentrate on your wheelie. OK, you look pretty good right there.

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-Pretty good?

-Go ahead and pop it.

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Go for it.

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You got it? These are a lot easier.

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There you go.

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Ow!

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Are you OK? Where did you hit?

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I heard a crash, and then I knew it was her.

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-Am I down all ready?

-Yeah, you made it down, look!

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'It takes a lot of courage to get up and do a trick after you've seen

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-'your friend wipe out.'

-He's done some pretty good falls.

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And busted his lip and chin.

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So you hold your wheelie too far.

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Go too far. 'People get nervous because he's in a wheelchair.'

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We're like, "He's a kid.

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"Kids are going to fall."

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And then turn over.

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'When I fall over, I get back up and try it again.'

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I get up every time.

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Oh, got to hold it.

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-360.

-'Looking good to me, Kumaka.'

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OK. Hunter's turn.

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Today, though, back in Texas,

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Luzi is trying to get up the courage to go down the biggest ramp in the

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park, the mega ramp.

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I was really scared when I had to do it for the first time, too.

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-I'm have to do the mega ramp.

-Wow, that's amazing. I'm so excited

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you finally decided to go for it.

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Luzi, girl power.

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Girl power.

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All right, let's try it.

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But once she gets up to the top with her mom,

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she sees just how high it is.

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-Stewart. Stewart.

-Wait, he's talking.

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No, thank you, I don't want to do it.

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This ramp is four times taller than Luzi,

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so it's no surprise she's scared.

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You're not going to fall, I promise you won't fall.

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The only way you're going to fall is if you do a backflip.

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Are you going to do a backflip? No.

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You're going to go down and then right there.

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-Not today?

-No.

-Huh?

-No.

-OK.

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So she heads back down.

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Maybe tomorrow.

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Don't worry, Lucy, it took me a couple of tries, too.

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But there will be no more attempts today.

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Practice is over and it's time for our qualifying skate.

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Only the six best skaters in each division make it through for the

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finals tomorrow.

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The way WCMX qualifying works is that you have one minute to get

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around the park, and you get points for every trick you do.

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If you don't have any help from your parents, there are more points, too.

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We are all aiming high.

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Look at me.

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It's almost time to qualify.

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-Do you think you're going to qualify?

-Of course I am!

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-Luzi, do you think you're going to qualify?

-Yes!

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Who's ready for the competition?

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Raise both hands up if you're ready for this.

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OK, guys, let's go.

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We don't want to miss it, right, Hunter?

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-Yeah.

-Come on, let's go, guys.

-Can I go second?

-You can go second.

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-You can go first.

-Me?

-Yeah.

-Yes!

-I'm letting him go first.

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Some of my friends have come to watch

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me, too. These are the only people I'm really happy

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to have in the crowd.

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Why don't you go and find the water? Go get some water.

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What's the best trick you can do right now?

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My best trick is probably a lay-back,

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basically where you go up to a ramp and then,

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when you get at the edge of the ramp, you go like that.

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-That's cool. Yeah.

-'If I qualify for the finals tomorrow,

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'I'm going to attempt a trick I've never done before.

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'Going down the big half pipe and jumping over my mum.'

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-Is your mom scared?

-Probably.

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Kumaka is first up for his qualifying run.

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Good luck, Kumaka.

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So, around the top. From there, we're going to go all the way up.

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OK? All the way up.

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He's starting on top of the mega ramp.

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Whoa, serious air on the box jump.

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Nice 360 there.

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Oh, and he flies off the jump.

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Down off the box again.

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And he lands a hand plant.

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And it's time for the moment he's dreaded, the firecracker.

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Can he do it?

0:18:540:18:56

Yes, he's nailed it.

0:18:590:19:01

Hey, buddy! Oh, my...

0:19:060:19:10

Come here!

0:19:120:19:14

-How did it feel? How did it feel?

-Good.

0:19:140:19:17

What do you think? All that work out?

0:19:170:19:20

-Yeah.

-Let me see those guns.

0:19:200:19:22

Let me see those guns.

0:19:220:19:24

Dude, you were pumping out there.

0:19:240:19:26

Luzi has her qualifying run next.

0:19:270:19:29

But her decision not to do the mega ramp

0:19:290:19:31

means she's really up against it.

0:19:310:19:34

So, Luzi, we just heard the results, and we didn't make it to finals.

0:19:370:19:40

-I'm not mad, though.

-No.

0:19:400:19:43

No reason to be mad.

0:19:430:19:44

I'm so proud of you for trying so hard.

0:19:440:19:46

You worked all week for it, so I'm super-proud of you, OK?

0:19:460:19:49

I love you.

0:19:490:19:52

We'll be back next year? Yeah, we'll be back next year.

0:19:520:19:55

-I'm tired for real.

-You're tired for real?

0:19:550:19:58

Time to break? Time to go for a swim, huh?

0:19:580:20:01

Never mind, Luzi, I know you'll be back stronger next year.

0:20:030:20:07

It's finally time for my run, and I'm starting to feel those nerves.

0:20:070:20:11

There's a lot of people here.

0:20:130:20:14

I don't know if I still want to do this.

0:20:140:20:16

What do you mean, you don't know if you want to do this?

0:20:160:20:18

You've been working on this for months.

0:20:180:20:20

You're going to let a few people who've come out here to watch you,

0:20:200:20:23

you're going to let them stop you doing something you want to do?

0:20:230:20:26

-It's more like a few hundred.

-Well, there's a lot of people,

0:20:260:20:30

I'll give you that. But... So, here's the thing.

0:20:300:20:33

It's only a minute.

0:20:330:20:34

So just go out there, take a deep breath,

0:20:340:20:37

and if you don't do it this year,

0:20:370:20:39

there's a lot of years left to do this. There's really no pressure.

0:20:390:20:42

-Just go and have fun. Are you ready now?

-Yes.

0:20:420:20:46

All right, let's go.

0:20:460:20:49

'OK, it's time, here I go.

0:20:490:20:51

'I was feeling so nervous as I pushed down the mega ramp.

0:20:540:20:58

'But I managed to get some serious air.

0:20:580:21:00

'And then I dropped into the bowl.

0:21:020:21:05

'I knew I had to push hard around the course to get enough speed to

0:21:060:21:10

'grind the bar.

0:21:100:21:11

'I was worried I wouldn't make it, but I did.

0:21:110:21:14

'Then I land a high-speed hand plant.

0:21:140:21:17

'I knew my time was running out, so I finished with a 720 spin.

0:21:190:21:23

'Phew. It went really well.

0:21:270:21:29

'I qualified.'

0:21:300:21:32

We can't celebrate too much because I've got to do it again tomorrow.

0:21:360:21:39

Today is finals day.

0:21:470:21:49

And we're all getting an early start.

0:21:490:21:52

-Oh!

-Oh, Dad, I'm up.

0:21:530:21:55

Come on, get up. You know what today is?

0:21:550:21:58

-Skate day.

-It's skate day, right?

0:21:580:22:00

Is this... We're going to have to show them

0:22:000:22:03

that all of his hard work that

0:22:030:22:05

you've been doing with Kalani, all the working out,

0:22:050:22:07

the running around the block, the push-ups, is going to pay off.

0:22:070:22:12

-OK?

-OK.

-All right. So you're awake?

0:22:120:22:15

Wake up. Wake up.

0:22:150:22:17

We've got to get up and go and do it, OK?

0:22:170:22:20

Knuckles. Let's go do it, OK?

0:22:200:22:22

-OK, you have all your stuff, stuff.

-Yeah.

-Ready to go?

-Mm-hm.

0:22:260:22:29

Helmet, pads?

0:22:290:22:31

Yes.

0:22:310:22:33

'It's my first-ever WCMX final.

0:22:330:22:36

'As I am racing against far more experienced skaters,

0:22:360:22:39

'I really hope my new trick will impress the judges.'

0:22:390:22:42

So when you jump the gap, do you want me in the gap or not?

0:22:420:22:45

Would you be scared if I jumped over you?

0:22:450:22:47

I know you can do it. It's just whether or not you can do it in

0:22:470:22:50

-front of other people.

-Yeah.

0:22:500:22:52

There's a brief warm-up before the finals start.

0:22:540:22:57

But while we're getting ready, my friend Katherine

0:22:570:23:00

has a nasty accident.

0:23:000:23:01

She was trying to do a flip and she did it too early.

0:23:060:23:10

And so she fell backwards and hurt her neck.

0:23:100:23:12

'Even Wheelz is worried about what happened.'

0:23:210:23:24

That's such a hard slam to take.

0:23:240:23:28

I just... Every time you see something like out,

0:23:280:23:30

it's a reality check. It's like, "Oh, this is serious," you know?

0:23:300:23:34

It's hard to see one of your friends go down like that.

0:23:360:23:39

'Thankfully, Katherine seems to be OK.

0:23:390:23:41

'But she has to pull out of the finals.

0:23:410:23:44

'What's worrying me is that I'm about to attempt a trick

0:23:450:23:48

'I've never done before.'

0:23:480:23:51

What's with the face? What are you worried about?

0:23:510:23:53

That I'm going to flip out like Katherine did.

0:23:530:23:55

And that I'm going to crush you.

0:23:550:23:56

That you're going to crush me when you jump me?

0:23:560:23:58

-Yeah.

-If I get hit, it's my own fault,

0:23:580:24:00

because I will have, like, stuck my head or my hand up or something.

0:24:000:24:03

-Yeah.

-It's plenty deep.

0:24:030:24:05

I'll just get back to the wall.

0:24:050:24:07

It's all for show anyway.

0:24:070:24:08

-Yeah.

-It's the same hole whether I'm there or not.

0:24:080:24:11

And you do it all the time. It'll be fine.

0:24:110:24:14

'And after weeks of training,

0:24:140:24:16

'even super-cool Kumaka is feeling the pressure.'

0:24:160:24:20

-Are you ready for today?

-Yes.

0:24:200:24:22

-You're not nervous?

-A little bit.

-You are?

0:24:220:24:24

What are you nervous about?

0:24:240:24:26

-That I'm not going to win.

-You're not going to win,

0:24:260:24:29

-or you're not going to do good?

-That I'm not going to do good.

0:24:290:24:33

I think if you do good, then you should be happy

0:24:330:24:36

and I should be happy.

0:24:360:24:38

We're going to show people who Rockin' Kumaka is, OK?

0:24:380:24:40

All right, let's go get them.

0:24:400:24:42

This is the moment we've all been working towards.

0:24:490:24:53

Months of training for just one minute of skating.

0:24:530:24:56

First up in the men's division, Kumaka nails the ramp.

0:25:000:25:03

He was second-highest scorer in qualifying.

0:25:050:25:08

Can he go one better?

0:25:080:25:10

Nice 360.

0:25:100:25:11

He's strong through the middle section, with a nice hand plant.

0:25:140:25:17

And as the seconds tick by, there's just enough time for one last jump.

0:25:190:25:23

And a rail grind to finish.

0:25:240:25:26

Kumaka did so well.

0:25:300:25:32

You feel good about your run?

0:25:340:25:36

That's what's important. I think you did awesome.

0:25:360:25:38

Finally, it's my turn.

0:25:400:25:42

But with everyone's eyes on me,

0:25:420:25:44

can I pull off the biggest trick I've ever tried?

0:25:440:25:47

The nerves were really kicking in at the top of the ramp.

0:25:470:25:50

And you can tell, as I only just made the landing.

0:25:530:25:56

And as my mum gets into the gap, I prepare for the jump.

0:25:580:26:01

And it's so awesome, I did it.

0:26:040:26:07

There she is without a scratch on her.

0:26:070:26:10

I'm so pleased, I give a quick wave to my family.

0:26:100:26:13

Now I do every trick I can think of,

0:26:140:26:16

including climbing up the stairs.

0:26:160:26:19

And as my time runs out, I do a final drop into the bowl.

0:26:220:26:25

I'm really pleased with how my run went.

0:26:290:26:31

But now, we just have to wait and see what the judges make of it.

0:26:310:26:35

But as we wait for them to add up the scores,

0:26:400:26:42

Kumaka and I are both on edge.

0:26:420:26:44

-I'm so nervous.

-I'm so nervous, too. I've got butterflies again.

0:26:440:26:49

'The men's division is announced first.'

0:26:550:26:58

-ANNOUNCER:

-In our top five positions, taking the fifth spot...

0:27:000:27:04

..was Kumaka Jensen.

0:27:070:27:09

CHEERING

0:27:090:27:11

'And up against riders more than twice his age,

0:27:110:27:14

'Kumaka comes a respectable fifth.

0:27:140:27:17

'Don't be disappointed, Kumaka, you still came fifth.

0:27:180:27:21

-'Fifth is awesome.'

-Next year, guess what?

0:27:210:27:24

We're going to come back and we're going to show some

0:27:240:27:26

-people what we got, OK?

-I have my fingers crossed anyway.

0:27:260:27:31

You don't need to keep your fingers crossed.

0:27:310:27:33

I thought you did better than everybody, so guess what?

0:27:330:27:36

What counts? What I think of you and what you think of you, all right?

0:27:360:27:41

All right. Let's knuckle it up.

0:27:410:27:43

Knuckle it up.

0:27:430:27:44

Next year, I'm going to beat everybody.

0:27:450:27:48

'Finally, it's the results from the women's division.

0:27:480:27:51

'In my first-ever WCMX World Championship,

0:27:530:27:56

'I've had to compete against so many great skaters.'

0:27:560:28:00

-ANNOUNCER:

-In the second place spot,

0:28:000:28:03

from Wylie, Texas, 11-year-old Ella Frech.

0:28:030:28:06

CHEERING

0:28:060:28:08

'Second? I can't believe I'm in the second-best female skater

0:28:080:28:11

'in the world.

0:28:110:28:12

'And just you wait - next year, I'll be back.

0:28:150:28:19

'And I'm going to make it to number one.

0:28:190:28:22

'WCMX is great fun, but please don't

0:28:220:28:25

'try any of these tricks on your own.'

0:28:250:28:27

Ella introduces her extraordinary world of wheelchair skating (or WCMX) and her friends Kumaka, Hunter and Luzi who also do WCMX. They show that even in a wheelchair you can back flip, grind and jump. With the World WCMX championships coming up in Texas, how will Ella and her friends do?