Lizzie Armanto Navigates the Twists and Turns of Life with Grit and Style

Lizzie Armanto
Photo Courtsey Anthony Acosta
Eva Armanto says her daughter “Lizzie is a huge supporter of young ladies pursuing a career in skateboarding.” (Photo courtesy Anthony Acosta)
Photo courtesy of Eva Armanto
Armanto credits her mother, Eva, for her encouragement and support in pursuing a career in professional skateboarding. (Photo courtesy of Eva Armanto)
Lizzie Armanto’s sold out Vans “Floral” Sk8-Hi Pro high-top lace-up shoe, one of her 13  clothing apparel designs. (Photo courtesy of Eva Armanto)

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Armanto, three-time world cup winner, Tony Hawk protégé, Olympic skateboarder, X Games gold medalist, and now athletic sportswear fashion designer, knows how to adapt to life’s twists and turns in and out of the arena, “the bowl.”

Because of her dual citizenship through her Finnish father, Armanto chose to compete as a member of Finland’s Olympic team in women’s park skateboarding, a surprise move for many of her fans, but a choice she said would “show the best skateboarding possible” when it debuted as an Olympic event in Tokyo.

“I feel like at first people were pretty confused about my decision because a lot of people didn’t know I had Finnish citizenship. But it’s been cool getting to go over to Europe more and also learning more about my family history and understanding Finnish culture more,” Armanto explained in an interview with yeahgirl.com

“Skateboarding has never been about where you’re from or what country you’re skating for, so I just felt like going with Finland was the right choice for me and also for the other skaters, just to open up one more spot for a deserving skateboarder,” Armanto stated in an interview with Dew Tour.

Six months before her Tokyo debut, Armanto unexpectedly took “her worst slam ever, and arguably the worst slam in skateboarding history”, according to Tony Hawk in a “Hawk and Wolf” podcast interview.

In a May 2021 “Hawk vs. Wolf” podcast with Tony Hawk and Jason Ellis, Armanto described the slam that took place six months earlier, where she broke her femur and the wings on her spine. 

“I feel like I reached that point where my body refused to…do anything,” Armanto said, “I have no vision of…what happened.” 

 Armanto’s recovery was physical and mental, requiring surgery, physical therapy, learning to walk again, and regaining a sense of confidence on her board.

“After a bad fall, it feels like there’s this cloud that follows you. You just have to take care of yourself and keep pushing until you shake it,” stated Armanto in an interview with the Matador Messenger, Skating is so physical and really takes everything you got. When your body isn’t working how it should, it makes you question everything.”

“As a testament to Lizzie and just her resilience and her perseverance,” stated Tony Hawk in a “Hawk and Wolf” podcast. “Immediately she was like ‘What are the steps to get back out there? What am I doing to get on it?’ and we all knew if anyone is going to do this in a rapid way it’s going to be her,” Hawk added.

During her recovery and Olympic preparations, Armanto took another unexpected turn into the world of fashion design, creating her own Olympic outfit. 

I saw a lot of the other team uniforms and that’s exactly how they felt to me: like major league sports uniforms,” Armanto stated in an interview with Vogue. “I wanted to keep the authenticity of skate and ensure I still looked like I was wearing something I would wear with or without the Olympics.”

Armanto designed twelve pieces of clothing, which bore “distinctive squiggles” that were inspired by her Finnish heritage (Vogue). She attributed architect Alvar Aalto, who designed, “a kidney-shaped swimming pool, which became synonymous with pool skateboarding much later in the ’70s,” Armanto said in an interview with Vogue.

Armanto’s eye for design also has extended to her work with Van’s creating her own collection of shoes, something that she said, in an interview with YeahGirl, was “the first collection where I had free rein.”

According to the Vans’ website, “Lizzie’s path is paved in milestones and setting the tone for generations of women in skateboarding.”

 Whether it’s being the first female skater to complete Tony Hawk’s 360 loop, or being the primary skater in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 video game, or enduring painful and difficult recovery, Armanto understands that the path to success is not always straightforward.

“Everyone’s path is different,” stated Armanto, who credits most of her success and love for skating to her mom. After school, Armanto’s mother, Eva, regularly took Lizzie to the local skatepark in Santa Monica and her mom even “casually picked up the sport herself,” according to Armanto’s interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Armanto had some parting advice for Matador Messenger readers seeking a pathway to pursue a goal. “You should go for it. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you know in your heart that is what you want to do; don’t let anyone discourage you.”