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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'I'm Ella, and this is my friend Kumaka.
'We use wheelchairs like you've never seen before.'
Oh, what? Flying over that thing, huh?
'We are competing to be the best in the world at wheelchair skating,
Oh, my gosh. I love this. This is my thing.
'But this is not a sport for the faint-hearted.
'Are we tough enough?'
I don't know if I still want to do this.
What do you mean? You've been working on this for months.
-Push, Kumaka. Push hard.
'And good enough to be counted amongst the best in the world?
'Just watch how we roll,
'but don't try anything we get up to yourselves.
'We've been practising.'
Hi, I'm Ella, I'm 11 years old.
This is my mom, that's my dad.
Those are my brothers, and that's my little sister.
And I am a skater girl.
I live in Texas, USA,
and my favourite thing in life is wheelchair skating,
Over here is, like, all of my trophies.
Most of them are for WCMX.
'But I haven't always been a skater.'
So this is my old tutu from when I did ballet.
I guess I used to be pretty good at ballet.
'I didn't use a wheelchair at all until I was nine years old.
'I could walk and run and I loved doing ballet.
'But then I picked up a nasty bug which made me very ill.
'The rare virus attacked the muscles in my legs and damaged them so
'badly, I couldn't walk any more. So now I use a wheelchair.
'It makes me feel free.
'I was really sure that skating wasn't my thing.
And then I went down three or four ramps and I just thought,
"Oh, my gosh, I love this, this is my thing."
-Mom, I'm going to go and meet Erica.
'A lot are people, when they see me in a wheelchair,
'it's oftentimes little kids,'
and their mom or dad are always like, "No, don't look at her,
"that's not nice."
If it was anyone else, they wouldn't care.
It would be better if they just said, "Hi."
Or, "Your wheelchair's really cool," or something.
I prefer wheeling to walking.
In a way, it kinds of feel like I'm running, but I'm skating,
just very fast.
My friend Kumaka lives in California.
He knows that to succeed at WCMX, he's going to have to work hard.
To be an awesome skater,
you will have to practise and practise and practise and practise
every single day. How do I do a hand plant?
You go, then you go down, then you hold.
And part of that practice involves falling.
Then, learning how to get back up again.
You've got to unbuckle, and you've got to pick your chair up.
Then you've got to bring it towards you.
And you have to do it.
I always do this because, if I fall, I never give up.
And then you always have to make sure that your seat belt
is on before you do tricks.
If you don't keep your seat belt on, then you'll fall back.
When Kumaka's not practising,
he spends a lot of time at the beach with his two best friends,
Luzi and Hunter, who also compete at WCMX with him.
'I like Hunter because
'he's always my friend, he always looks out for me.'
He's always nice to me.
-'I like Luzi because she's my friend and she always'
-cares about me.
-We're going to race from here all the way over there.
-To that bin?
-Yes. To that bin.
And all three of them are going to our competition.
But getting on the beach can be a pain when you use a wheelchair.
Unless you have someone who is willing to carry you down to
the sea. Luckily for Kumaka, he's got his big brother,
Kalani, with him to help.
Kumaka, Luzi and Hunter all have spina bifida.
Their spines didn't form fully in their mom's womb,
so there was a hole there when they were born.
They had a big operation to close it, but despite that,
it meant they were paralysed from the chest down.
So now, like me, they use wheelchairs.
And it's not held them back.
I'm going to run to it.
Back in Texas, I'm heading out to practise.
But as I've only been in a wheelchair two years,
I'm still shy about people seeing me skate.
And when my mom and I pull up, it's not as quiet as I'd hoped.
-Hey, are you ready?
I don't... There's a lot of people here.
I don't want to... I don't want to go.
Are you serious?
I mean, yeah.
You're too nervous to do this?
I mean, we can go home if you want to, but you know that
this weekend, you're going to be skating in front of a lot more
people than that, right?
-You're sure you don't want to do this?
-Not right now, no.
-Right, I'm not going to force you.
We can go home. But you've got to practise at home, then.
I'm just a little disappointed that, like, we came
to skate and I can't.
I guess I'm just really nervous of all the people watching me.
It hurts my heart for her, because it must be
really, really painful to be that kind of shy and afraid.
'I know I'm going to have to tackle my fears head on if I'm going to be
'competing in front of all the crowds at the championships.'
In California, Kumaka knows it's time to get serious
about his training for the competition.
OK, Kumaka, you're going to have to get really strong in your
upper body, so you can push fast.
Faster than everybody else.
We're going to do this every day before Texas.
Push, Kumaka. Push hard.
WCMX requires serious upper body strength
so that you can push your chair hard and pull off all the tricks.
-You think you'd be able to be a basketball player, too?
-Why? Have you got the skills?
Yes, I do. No, never mind, I don't.
What would you rather do? Basketball or skating?
Because it's fun. I'm better at skating.
Because you missed that shot?
With the World Championships only days away,
my mom has come up with a plan to help me build my confidence.
Right, so we're going to go into the skate shop.
-You need new bearings.
But here's the thing. When we go in the skate shop,
you have to get your bearings changed.
I'm not going to do this for you.
-OK. But what if they don't
understand because, like, I'm in a wheelchair,
and they might laugh at me or something?
They'll get it. They'll see that these are skateboard wheels.
They know how to fix skateboard wheels.
-All by yourself. I'll pay for it, but you've got to do it.
-All right. Go.
I need to get my bearings changed.
-Yeah, right on. Hop up here.
Have you ever changed wheelchair bearings before?
No, but I can puts bearings in these SPS,
because these are the same wheels I ride.
I've just got to find the right tool.
Are we getting this chair ready for something?
Yeah, next weekend, I have a skating competition down in Grand Prairie.
Rad. I hope you do good.
I'm competing against, like, the best female skaters in the world,
and one of them can do a back flip and...
'Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.'
After a bit of last-minute preparation,
it's time for us all to head to the World Championships.
Kumaka has to travel 2,000 miles to
Texas. But other people have come from all over the world to compete.
And there's one person we all look up to -
the guy who invented this wild sport.
I'm Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham.
And I'm the number one WCMX rider in the world.
Wheelz does tricks and stunts you wouldn't believe possible,
in front of crowds of thousands of people.
I'm just showing kids that the wheelchair doesn't define your
abilities, and you can achieve anything you want.
Wheelz's number one fan is Kumaka.
It's his first time at the accommodation,
and he's desperate to impress his hero.
-I've been going down the big ramp.
-You've been going down the big ramp?
-And I get this much air.
-Oh, what? Flying over that thing, huh?
I flew, and then I landed it, and then I went...
Have you cleared it yet?
Oh, man, Kumaka's a great little kid.
Just ever since I met him, he had a good spirit.
And in the parks, he's just an animal.
'While Kumaka has Wheelz to look up to, my hero is Katherine.'
'She's the only girl to have ever landed a backflip in a wheelchair.
'She's always there to give advice when I need it.'
When you... When you get to the top, straighten up and, like,
-lean forward so you don't go back.
'We decide to come outside to practise where there are
'But I'm worried. At the competition,
'there will be so many people watching me.'
What, is it the crowds or, like, the people, the tricks?
-Um...all of it.
-Yeah, I get a little nervous, too,
when I'm up there because everybody is looking at you,
and you've just got to remember they all want you to do well.
They're not cheering for you to do badly. And then I block all that out
and just decide to go have fun.
-I don't care about what anybody else is doing,
as long as I'm having fun.
But what if I fall and I look really stupid?
Well, you are going to fall because everybody falls in WCMX.
Just look at all of these scratches, are just from...
I just fall all over the place.
And falling, to me, doesn't mean that you look stupid,
it just means that you're trying hard.
If you fall or scratch your chair or, you know, whatever,
just don't worry about it because you have your helmet and pads on,
nothing going to happen to you. You're already in a
wheelchair, so... You know.
As long as we're having fun, you know, doing our best,
that's all that matters.
But I know we're both going to do awesome in the contest.
So let's get some practice in before the big day.
'I still have so much to learn to be as fearless as Katherine.
'And today, as we practice for qualifying,
'it's not just about people watching us that we have to worry about.
'We also have to worry about crashing hard.
'Everyone who does this has to find the brave person inside,
'and Kumaka's big struggle is with one stunt called the firecracker.
'And Kumaka's finding it tough.'
Want me to just pick you up?
Put your hands up, like this.
I was doing this, and then I was like this, and then I got
-How come your helmet's not tight?
'He's so determined, he's been practising over and over.
'We all wear protective gear, and today,
'it's especially important for Luzi.
'She's never done this before.'
This is my first time.
You can do it, I know you can, Luzi.
What if I fall?
If you fall, you just get back up, OK?
'Remember, everything we do is supervised.
'You shouldn't try this on your own.'
-Can you do it by yourself?
-Are you sure?
-Are you kidding me?
-No, I'm serious,
I thought you were going to do it all by yourself.
Concentrate on your wheelie. OK, you look pretty good right there.
-Go ahead and pop it.
Go for it.
You got it? These are a lot easier.
There you go.
Are you OK? Where did you hit?
I heard a crash, and then I knew it was her.
-Am I down all ready?
-Yeah, you made it down, look!
'It takes a lot of courage to get up and do a trick after you've seen
-'your friend wipe out.'
-He's done some pretty good falls.
And busted his lip and chin.
So you hold your wheelie too far.
Go too far. 'People get nervous because he's in a wheelchair.'
We're like, "He's a kid.
"Kids are going to fall."
And then turn over.
'When I fall over, I get back up and try it again.'
I get up every time.
Oh, got to hold it.
-'Looking good to me, Kumaka.'
OK. Hunter's turn.
Today, though, back in Texas,
Luzi is trying to get up the courage to go down the biggest ramp in the
park, the mega ramp.
I was really scared when I had to do it for the first time, too.
-I'm have to do the mega ramp.
-Wow, that's amazing. I'm so excited
you finally decided to go for it.
Luzi, girl power.
All right, let's try it.
But once she gets up to the top with her mom,
she sees just how high it is.
-Wait, he's talking.
No, thank you, I don't want to do it.
This ramp is four times taller than Luzi,
so it's no surprise she's scared.
You're not going to fall, I promise you won't fall.
The only way you're going to fall is if you do a backflip.
Are you going to do a backflip? No.
You're going to go down and then right there.
So she heads back down.
Don't worry, Lucy, it took me a couple of tries, too.
But there will be no more attempts today.
Practice is over and it's time for our qualifying skate.
Only the six best skaters in each division make it through for the
The way WCMX qualifying works is that you have one minute to get
around the park, and you get points for every trick you do.
If you don't have any help from your parents, there are more points, too.
We are all aiming high.
Look at me.
It's almost time to qualify.
-Do you think you're going to qualify?
-Of course I am!
-Luzi, do you think you're going to qualify?
Who's ready for the competition?
Raise both hands up if you're ready for this.
OK, guys, let's go.
We don't want to miss it, right, Hunter?
-Come on, let's go, guys.
-Can I go second?
-You can go second.
-You can go first.
-I'm letting him go first.
Some of my friends have come to watch
me, too. These are the only people I'm really happy
to have in the crowd.
Why don't you go and find the water? Go get some water.
What's the best trick you can do right now?
My best trick is probably a lay-back,
basically where you go up to a ramp and then,
when you get at the edge of the ramp, you go like that.
-That's cool. Yeah.
-'If I qualify for the finals tomorrow,
'I'm going to attempt a trick I've never done before.
'Going down the big half pipe and jumping over my mum.'
-Is your mom scared?
Kumaka is first up for his qualifying run.
Good luck, Kumaka.
So, around the top. From there, we're going to go all the way up.
OK? All the way up.
He's starting on top of the mega ramp.
Whoa, serious air on the box jump.
Nice 360 there.
Oh, and he flies off the jump.
Down off the box again.
And he lands a hand plant.
And it's time for the moment he's dreaded, the firecracker.
Can he do it?
Yes, he's nailed it.
Hey, buddy! Oh, my...
-How did it feel? How did it feel?
What do you think? All that work out?
-Let me see those guns.
Let me see those guns.
Dude, you were pumping out there.
Luzi has her qualifying run next.
But her decision not to do the mega ramp
means she's really up against it.
So, Luzi, we just heard the results, and we didn't make it to finals.
-I'm not mad, though.
No reason to be mad.
I'm so proud of you for trying so hard.
You worked all week for it, so I'm super-proud of you, OK?
I love you.
We'll be back next year? Yeah, we'll be back next year.
-I'm tired for real.
-You're tired for real?
Time to break? Time to go for a swim, huh?
Never mind, Luzi, I know you'll be back stronger next year.
It's finally time for my run, and I'm starting to feel those nerves.
There's a lot of people here.
I don't know if I still want to do this.
What do you mean, you don't know if you want to do this?
You've been working on this for months.
You're going to let a few people who've come out here to watch you,
you're going to let them stop you doing something you want to do?
-It's more like a few hundred.
-Well, there's a lot of people,
I'll give you that. But... So, here's the thing.
It's only a minute.
So just go out there, take a deep breath,
and if you don't do it this year,
there's a lot of years left to do this. There's really no pressure.
-Just go and have fun. Are you ready now?
All right, let's go.
'OK, it's time, here I go.
'I was feeling so nervous as I pushed down the mega ramp.
'But I managed to get some serious air.
'And then I dropped into the bowl.
'I knew I had to push hard around the course to get enough speed to
'grind the bar.
'I was worried I wouldn't make it, but I did.
'Then I land a high-speed hand plant.
'I knew my time was running out, so I finished with a 720 spin.
'Phew. It went really well.
We can't celebrate too much because I've got to do it again tomorrow.
Today is finals day.
And we're all getting an early start.
-Oh, Dad, I'm up.
Come on, get up. You know what today is?
-It's skate day, right?
Is this... We're going to have to show them
that all of his hard work that
you've been doing with Kalani, all the working out,
the running around the block, the push-ups, is going to pay off.
-All right. So you're awake?
Wake up. Wake up.
We've got to get up and go and do it, OK?
Knuckles. Let's go do it, OK?
-OK, you have all your stuff, stuff.
-Ready to go?
'It's my first-ever WCMX final.
'As I am racing against far more experienced skaters,
'I really hope my new trick will impress the judges.'
So when you jump the gap, do you want me in the gap or not?
Would you be scared if I jumped over you?
I know you can do it. It's just whether or not you can do it in
-front of other people.
There's a brief warm-up before the finals start.
But while we're getting ready, my friend Katherine
has a nasty accident.
She was trying to do a flip and she did it too early.
And so she fell backwards and hurt her neck.
'Even Wheelz is worried about what happened.'
That's such a hard slam to take.
I just... Every time you see something like out,
it's a reality check. It's like, "Oh, this is serious," you know?
It's hard to see one of your friends go down like that.
'Thankfully, Katherine seems to be OK.
'But she has to pull out of the finals.
'What's worrying me is that I'm about to attempt a trick
'I've never done before.'
What's with the face? What are you worried about?
That I'm going to flip out like Katherine did.
And that I'm going to crush you.
That you're going to crush me when you jump me?
-If I get hit, it's my own fault,
because I will have, like, stuck my head or my hand up or something.
-It's plenty deep.
I'll just get back to the wall.
It's all for show anyway.
-It's the same hole whether I'm there or not.
And you do it all the time. It'll be fine.
'And after weeks of training,
'even super-cool Kumaka is feeling the pressure.'
-Are you ready for today?
-You're not nervous?
-A little bit.
What are you nervous about?
-That I'm not going to win.
-You're not going to win,
-or you're not going to do good?
-That I'm not going to do good.
I think if you do good, then you should be happy
and I should be happy.
We're going to show people who Rockin' Kumaka is, OK?
All right, let's go get them.
This is the moment we've all been working towards.
Months of training for just one minute of skating.
First up in the men's division, Kumaka nails the ramp.
He was second-highest scorer in qualifying.
Can he go one better?
He's strong through the middle section, with a nice hand plant.
And as the seconds tick by, there's just enough time for one last jump.
And a rail grind to finish.
Kumaka did so well.
You feel good about your run?
That's what's important. I think you did awesome.
Finally, it's my turn.
But with everyone's eyes on me,
can I pull off the biggest trick I've ever tried?
The nerves were really kicking in at the top of the ramp.
And you can tell, as I only just made the landing.
And as my mum gets into the gap, I prepare for the jump.
And it's so awesome, I did it.
There she is without a scratch on her.
I'm so pleased, I give a quick wave to my family.
Now I do every trick I can think of,
including climbing up the stairs.
And as my time runs out, I do a final drop into the bowl.
I'm really pleased with how my run went.
But now, we just have to wait and see what the judges make of it.
But as we wait for them to add up the scores,
Kumaka and I are both on edge.
-I'm so nervous.
-I'm so nervous, too. I've got butterflies again.
'The men's division is announced first.'
-In our top five positions, taking the fifth spot...
..was Kumaka Jensen.
'And up against riders more than twice his age,
'Kumaka comes a respectable fifth.
'Don't be disappointed, Kumaka, you still came fifth.
-'Fifth is awesome.'
-Next year, guess what?
We're going to come back and we're going to show some
-people what we got, OK?
-I have my fingers crossed anyway.
You don't need to keep your fingers crossed.
I thought you did better than everybody, so guess what?
What counts? What I think of you and what you think of you, all right?
All right. Let's knuckle it up.
Knuckle it up.
Next year, I'm going to beat everybody.
'Finally, it's the results from the women's division.
'In my first-ever WCMX World Championship,
'I've had to compete against so many great skaters.'
-In the second place spot,
from Wylie, Texas, 11-year-old Ella Frech.
'Second? I can't believe I'm in the second-best female skater
'in the world.
'And just you wait - next year, I'll be back.
'And I'm going to make it to number one.
'WCMX is great fun, but please don't
'try any of these tricks on your own.'
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?