Earlier this year, Aussie skateboarders Mikey Mendoza and Amar Hadid became the first people in the world to receive a university scholarship for skateboarding, through the University of Sydney's Elite Athlete Program. As skateboarding continues to be legitimately recognized by sporting institutions for the first time – due largely to its recent elevation to Olympic status – Australia's sporting academies are quickly gaining a head start on the rest of the world with their support of potential Olympic skateboarders.
Kat Williams is the latest Aussie skateboarder to be awarded a scholarship, becoming the first skateboarding recipient from the South Australian Sports Institute. The SASI's scholarship was awarded through the institution's Individual Athlete Program, and aims to specifically help Kat pursue her goal of competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
''The sport was talked about being in the Olympics about eight years ago and then it was confirmed about the time of the last Olympics,'' Kat said upon receiving the scholarship.
''About a month ago I was told by SASI that I had a scholarship and I was so excited. I just had my first gym session which was great, and the scholarship and the backing of SASI have been amazing and will be a big help with taking care of my body."
A longtime member of the women's skate scene in Australia, Williams, now 28, has consistently proven herself as one of the nation's top women's street skateboarders. Following her first X Games appearance in Minneapolis this year, Kat is on top of her game ahead of the upcoming all-women Exposure contest in San Diego.
''[Exposure] was organised by female skaters who were just sick of women skaters not getting much exposure and sponsorship,'' she said.
''That event will have points for world rankings and should be fun".
In the meantime, Kat will continue pursuing her Olympic dream alongside her day job – abseiling Adelaide's skyscrapers as a high-rise window cleaner. It's fair to say her life isn't lacking in adrenaline.