Japan Grabs the First 3 Skateboarding Golds


TOKYO — The formidable group of skate boarders from Japan continued their stellar efficiency at the Olympics, and on Wednesday mixed to finish the gold medal hopes of 13-year-old Sky Brown.

Sakura Yosozumi, 19, received the girls’s park occasion beneath the blistering noon solar at Ariake Urban Sports Park. Her profitable rating of 60.09 was simply forward of 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki.

Japan has now received all three gold medals in skateboarding. The fourth and closing occasion, males’s park, will probably be held on Thursday.

Brown, who grew up in Japan, lives in California and competed for Britain, completed third to earn the bronze.

A victory by both Hiraki or Brown would have made them the youngest gold medalist in Olympic historical past. The official distinction stays with Marjorie Gestring, a diver who received at age 13 years and 268 days at the Berlin Games in 1936.

Brown stumbled late in her first two runs of the closing, however skated flawlessly on the pressure-packed third. After ending, she raised her arms in the air, climbed out of the bowl and knelt on her deck, then obtained smothered in hugs from her opponents.

The judges have been impressed, however not sufficient to offer her the lead above the first runs by Yosozumi and Hiraki. Brown’s rating of 56.47 left her in third place.

Yosozumi’s victory was not an enormous shock. She received the Asian Games and a world championship in 2018, plus a Dew Tour occasion in May, the first worldwide contest since the pandemic started. She wore a crimson shirt to compete, as she normally does, and a pink streak in her hair.

Misugu Okamoto, 15 and a favourite for the gold medal, got here off the board on all of her closing runs, however nonetheless scored properly sufficient to complete fourth.

The girls’s park self-discipline in skateboarding had the youngest set of opponents in the Olympics, together with one preteen, they usually grinded and weaved their approach earlier than empty grandstands and a world tv viewers.

One by one, the skate boarders dropped into the concrete bowl and buzzed over its ramps and hips and up its partitions, flying up and over the lip to twist and switch and drop again in once more.

Runs lasted 45 seconds. Brown, Hiraki and Okamoto have been amongst those that, from the starting, stood out with greater airs, extra nuanced tips and bursts of pace and confidence. When they completed, the opponents normally greeted each other with hugs of congratulations.

Brown fell halfway by way of the first two of her three runs in the finals, however stayed a medal contender.

Okamoto, too, put collectively a robust second run that she couldn’t fairly end earlier than falling off the board and skidding to her knees. Her rating bettered that of Brown, pushing them every right into a pressure-packed closing run.

Brown and the three Japanese opponents secured the prime 4 spots in the qualifying heats, adopted by free-spirited 17-year-old Bryce Wettstein of the United States.

As Wettstein was launched, she strummed a ukulele. She completed sixth in the closing.

Hiraki was the second-youngest athlete amongst the 11,000 at these Olympics. She wore white Nike coveralls, like somebody about to go portray, and turns 13 in about three weeks. (The youngest Olympian competing in Tokyo was Hend Zaza of Syria, a table-tennis participant.)

Brown turned 13 final month. She is the effervescent daughter of a British father and Japanese mom, who grew up largely in Japan and now lives largely in Southern California.

“All three of them feel like home,” she mentioned.

She competed in saggy pants and a tank prime that includes the Union Jack. She gained notoriety in Britain by winning a juniors version of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2018. Her smile and Instagram posts have earned her followers in a minimum of three international locations. She has a youthful brother named Ocean who has gained consideration, too.

She was severely injured final yr in an accident at Tony Hawk’s indoor skatepark when she flew by way of a gap in two high ramps, crashing at least 15 feet to the concrete. She was unconscious with a cranium fracture and broke her left wrist and hand. A chipped tooth was repaired this spring.

“I was dead — well, not dead, but knocked out for, like, 16 hours,” she mentioned in an interview in May.

She was again on a board a number of weeks later, and gave the impression to be flying greater and skating tougher than ever at the Olympics.

“Falling is part of skateboarding,” she mentioned. “It’s part of life. I was honestly excited to get back on the board.”

Brown’s foremost rival at the Olympics was anticipated to be Okamoto, a quiet and straight-faced competitor, the finest park skater of the previous couple of years. She is a part of a deep Japanese contingent that has captured extra medals in skateboarding than every other nation.

Japan has received the gold medal in all three of the skateboarding competitions at the Olympics.

In the Olympic avenue self-discipline final week, the gold, silver and bronze medals went to younger girls aged 13, 13 and 16. It was celebrated as the start of a new generation.

The day earlier than, Yuto Horigome won the men’s street contest. Men’s park, the closing skateboarding occasion, is Thursday.

Skateboarding was added to the Olympics for simply this motive — so as to add a jolt of youthful vitality. It was very true amongst the girls.

What was much less anticipated was simply how properly Japan would carry out. Skateboarding has long been popular in Japan, an echo of the growth in the United States over the previous two generations.

But skating in the streets of Japan is way extra restrictive than in the United States. Few public locations permit it, and seeing skate boarders on metropolis sidewalks, particularly in Tokyo, is uncommon. Skateboarders have reputations for being loud, impolite and lawless.

Once skateboarding was added to the Olympics, extra mother and father noticed it as a professional sport. There was an increase in the development of skate parks, thought-about extra applicable than driving in the streets, constructed largely in out-of-the-way locations and the corners of public parks.
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More younger skaters are taking to the sport, some getting coached from a younger age. That pattern appears sure to proceed, as households seek for the subsequent Yuto Horigome, Momiji Nishiya or, now, Sakura Yosozumi.





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