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Skater ramps it up for students

ONE OF the world's top professional skateboarders treated over 350 Irish university students to an impromptu display of skill last night.

Californian skateboarder Tony Hawk (pictured left and above) was at UCD last night to receive the James Joyce award.

The 40-year-old gained fame for landing the first-ever 900 (two-and-a-half mid-air spins) at the 1999 X-Games, which focus on so-called "extreme action sports". Conor McAndrew, of the UCD's Literary and Historical Society, said: "He has set the milestone in terms of how good people are at skating and he has defined a generation in being a hero to so many college students.

"After the event, a guy on campus challenged Tony. They had a skate-off for about 20 minutes. It was a very impromptu performance and an incredible day for us to see this random display of skill."

Mr McAndrew described Mr Hawk as a "genuine guy" who showed how much "he believes in his own sport".

Last week English actor Alan Rickman, who played Eamon DeValera in the 'Michael Collins' biopic received the Joyce award from the UCD students.

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