Viral figure skater brings pop culture, activism, diversity to sport

Growing up, Elladj Balde said “a lot of athletes and artists ... looked like me, but they were not within the figure skating realm.” He is now pursuing his passion and hoping to change the narrative.
4:05 | 02/26/21

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Transcript for Viral figure skater brings pop culture, activism, diversity to sport
Reporter: They're the rapt captivating images of a figure skater turned social media phenom, spinning and cutting into the wild ice, flanked by the majestic mountains of Alberta, Canada. I'm out there nature skating on ice. I truly am connected to the now. Reporter: His videos, viewed hundreds of thousands of times. The 30-year-old is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the sport, shattering norms, infusing his own blend of pop culture, athleticism, and activism. Mesmerizing with his signature backflips. And killer jump combinations. My dad's from Africa, west Africa. My mom's from Russia. Emigrating to Canada at age 2, it was very much growing up in a lot of underserved communities. Started skating at the age of 6. Reporter: He was raised on the ice, but he says he never fully felt at home. I identified with rappers, with hip-hop artists, with hip-hop dancers, break dancers, basketball players, football players. Identified with a lot of athletes and artists that look like me but that were not within the figure skating realm. I didn't see that in skating. Reporter: His skating career a series of emotional ups and downs. The journey was a lot of beautiful moments and a lot of very difficult moments to deal with. I really view my skating career as, you know, as an incredible learning curve and learning opportunity for me to grow, not only as an athlete but as a human being. Growing up being a figure skater, I rarely saw diversity on the ice. What do you think that is? The lack of representation I think is something that doesn't allow for a young boy or young girl from the black community to look at the sport and truly feel they could be part of it. There's accessibility to Rinks. A lot of underserved communities don't have Rinks. On top of that, the sport is extremely expensive. Reporter: Since the first winter olympics in 1924, only two out of the 271 medals awarded for figure skating are held by black skaters. Now he's found a calling in carving a space for more representation in his beloved sport, cocreating the figure skating diversity inclusion alliance. Black people don't skate, they play basketball, track. Reporter: Helping to not only raise awareness but funding as well. I think this is one of the most important steps we need to do within our community is heal some of the experiences that we've had and have a space where it's safe to do that. There's a lot of obstacles in the way for a skater of color. We're committed to seeing more representation in the sport, and we're committed to increasing accessibility for these skaters. How do you feel like sports, figure skating, can play a role in social justice? Yeah, I mean, sports are, you know, microcosms of society. And so, you know, I think -- I think sports can be leaders in change and for social justice. I've seen a lot of sports step up. I've seen a lot of national sports organizations step up. I've seen a lot of athletes step up. I think -- I think it's a beautiful thing to see. Reporter: And he's weaving that message into his craft. Following the death of George Floyd and the racial reckoning, elage's performances have become an artistic expression for the movement for change. What motivated you? To live in a better world. A world where you see unity. You see people that operate from a space of love and not from a

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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