The host nation during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is cleaning up during the skateboarding events this summer. Sakura Yosozumi, 19, scored a gold medal for Japan on Wednesday during the park skating event. In her showing, Yosozumi showcased an extremely deep catalog of tricks, making her routine look easy as she executed 540 ollies, 360 melon grabs, and backside grind tricks that would be difficult for competitors of any age.
Yosozumi’s young teammate, Kokona Hiraki, 12, was one of the youngest competitors in Olympic history to medal. Hiraki displayed an incredible knowledge of skateboarding techniques during her routine, astonishing onlookers as she put up a performance that secured a silver medal.
Great Britain’s Sky Brown, 13, also competed with a level of talent that astonished commentators for her age. Brown was able to complete tricks that would have tripped up even accomplished professionals, securing a bronze medal for Britain. Had either Brown or Hiraki scored the gold medal, they would have made history as the youngest gold medal scorers of all time.
This year marks the first time skateboarding has been an event at the Olympic Games. The atmosphere of the competition at these Olympic Games has been extremely relaxed, according to the competitors. Yosozumi told reporters after her set that she has grown to be fast friends with the other athletes and that the laid-back environment has helped to bring out the best in all of the competitors.
Brown told reporters “It’s insane to be here. I’m so happy to be on the podium with these guys. They’re so amazing. Everyone ripped.” Sky Brown is something of a celebrity in her own right, as she has her own YouTube channel where she showcases her skateboarding talents. She has a book and a music video already out and has been a huge hit with modern skating culture.
“Skateboarding is a very beautiful sport. There’s no rules in skateboarding,” Brown told reporters. “I think more people are gonna start skating now.”
At least anecdotally, Brown’s proclamation has already started coming true. Many skateboard shops have reported an influx of young people, especially girls, coming in to shop for new boards. For years, skateboarding in the US has had a reputation of being somewhat old-fashioned. Longtime skating professionals are hopeful that the spotlight from the Olympics puts skateboarding back into the minds of new skaters, young and old alike.