NewsJagger Eaton

Time Off His Skateboard In 2022 Has Jagger Eaton Reset, Ready To Go After Paris Berth

by Steve Drumwright

Jagger Eaton poses with his bronze medal at the skateboarding men's street finals medal ceremony during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo.


What Jagger Eaton did in 2022 won’t show up on his lengthy list of skateboarding achievements. It might just unlock a few things that make him even better in years to come, though.


Eaton, an Olympic bronze medalist who turns 22 on Feb. 21, decided to unplug and focus on making himself better. He put his skateboard away, changed his diet, listened to those around him and hit the weight room.


Now, he is ready to attack the schedule as the 2023 season begins.


“I feel like in 2022 I really got in control of my mental and physical health,” Eaton said, “and that was probably my biggest win of 2022.”


To be sure, Eaton, of Mesa, Arizona, recorded some big wins on his skateboard, too. In April, just eight months after claiming the men’s park bronze medal in Tokyo, where skateboarding was making its Olympic debut, Eaton claimed his first X Games men’s park gold medal in Chiba, Japan.


Soon after, on July 1, he officially shelved his skateboard and dove headfirst into self-care.


“I think that mental health is a tricky thing,” Eaton said. “What I did for mental health was I put away my skateboard for about a month, a month and a half and I started working out twice a day. I completely changed my diet, I lost a ton of weight. I started reading more, I deleted social media. I just did all the things I felt like were the norm, like what was normal to all of us kids.


“So I just kind of fell off the face of the earth, and it was great exactly what I needed because I needed to find some self-worth outside of contest skating, outside athletics. And I found that.


The experience helped him fall back in love with skateboarding, he said.


It wasn’t a decision he made on a whim.


An athlete of his caliber — he made his X Games debut as an 11-year-old, becoming the youngest competitor in event history — Eaton had to consult with not only family and friends, but his agent, sponsors and USA Skateboarding. They all knew that Eaton, like many people his age, had been through a lot with their last year of high school or first year out disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


“I feel like these last few years, there were a lot of pits and a lot of peaks,” Eaton said. “That’s kind of your life, and that’s kind of your life as a young athlete, right? As a young athlete, your years from 17 to about 22 are all peaks and valleys of emotional control. You’re basing a lot of your own worth on contest results and the way that your coaches are looking at you and the way that you’re getting sponsors and financially and all of these things.


“It’s a normal thing in life, except I feel athletes go through it a lot younger because they’re brought up caring about something so much, like skateboarding. I think these last few years, I’ve just learned a lot.”

Jagger Eaton competes in the skateboarding men's street prelims during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo.


Perhaps the most important thing Eaton did in 2022, he said, was “shut up.”


“I stopped talking, I started listening,” he said. “I started listening to my peers. I started listening to people tell me where I was messing up, where I was mistreating people, where I was lacking in certain areas, and I just started to follow through really helping myself internally so that I can be a better athlete and a better mentor and a better leader and a better brother.”


Part of that was understanding that he was more than a star athlete. That came through his conversations with a lot of people, including his parents, Geoff Eaton and Sherry Schaerer, as well as close friend Todd Jacobs, agent Circe Wallace and Johnny Schillereff, who was named USA Skateboarding’s president and CEO in September.


“The biggest realization that I had last year was how much of my own self-worth I derived off of contest results,” Eaton said. “That was for sure the biggest realization.


“It’s about when you have that ego, that arrogance and that natural, just wanting to grind to win. I still have that, but it’s coming from a place of love now. I love doing the work, I love competing. I love all of it and, for a long time, I was in a rough state with competing because I felt like I was just doing it because I had to do it, not because I really wanted to.


“So to boil it down, it was just a perception shift,” Eaton continued. “I really had a good last year and thank God for my sponsors and my family and my team to just let me take this time so that I can re-fall in love with something I’ve been in love with for 16 years now.”


Eaton is ready to take on all challenges in 2023. With his mental and physical games in better shape, he has a few new tricks to unveil this season. Eaton was named to the U.S. men’s park and street teams. His first big competition is the street world championships taking place this week in Sharjah, UAE, which is also an opportunity to pick up qualifying points for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.


What does he have in store for his competitors?


“I guess you’re just gonna have to find out,” Eaton said.


While he is focused on this season, Eaton knows what he does will impact his chances of improving on the bronze he won in Tokyo.


“I feel really good about where I’m at right now going into the Olympic qualifiers in 2023,” Eaton said. “I feel mentally I’m ready, physically I’m ready. I’ve taken a lot of time to dial everything in, my tricks are ready. I’m just excited to be back in the ring with all those dudes. It’s where I belong.”

Steve Drumwright is a journalist based in Murrieta, California. He is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.