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Japan's Yosozumi Wins Battle of the Teens for Olympic Skateboarding Gold

Japan's Yosozumi Wins Battle of the Teens for Olympic Skateboarding Gold

Wednesday, 4 August, 2021 - 07:45
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Skateboarding - Women's Park - Final - Ariake Urban Sports Park - Tokyo, Japan - August 4, 2021. Sakura Yosozumi of Japan in action REUTERS/Mike Blake

Japan's Sakura Yosozumi won the women's park competition to maintain the hosts' stranglehold on Olympic skateboarding on Wednesday and stop Kokona Hiraki and Sky Brown becoming the Games' youngest-ever gold medallists.


The 19-year-old carved up the Ariake Urban Sports Park with a flowing opening run in the final and her 60.09 points proved enough for victory ahead of teammate Hiraki, 12, and Brown, 13.


Despite missing the title Hiraki, who scored 59.04, becomes the youngest Olympic medallist since French rower Noel Vandernotte in 1936.


Brown, now Britain's youngest medallist, threatened to snatch a dramatic win with a flawless closing routine but her 56.47 was only good enough for bronze.


"It was unbelievable," Brown said of her closing run. "Even right now it feels like a dream. It's insane.


"I'm so happy and so thankful and so proud of every one of the other girls, too."


There was heartbreak for world number one Misugu Okamoto, who missed a medal when she fell on all three runs in the final to finish fourth.


Japan also snapped up the men's and women's street titles and they have bagged five of the nine medals so far as skateboarding makes its Olympic bow.


Skateboarding is one of four debut sports intended to reach new audiences and in an ultra-young field, only eight of the 20 competitors were out of their teens. The podium had a combined age of 44.


Both Brown, at 13 years and 28 days, and Hiraki (12 years and 343 days) were bidding to break an 85-year-old record to become the youngest champions in Olympic history.


They had a shot at bettering American diver Marjorie Gestring, who won 3m springboard gold aged 13 years and 268 days at the 1936 Games in Berlin.


For Brown, who is also Britain's youngest-ever Olympian, it completes a comeback just over a year after a horrific fall in training left her with skull fractures and a broken wrist and hand.


The accident would have ruled Brown, just 11 at the time, out of the 2020 Olympics if they had not been postponed for a year over the coronavirus pandemic.


"Everyone did amazing, everyone was doing so good, I'm so proud of everyone," she said on Wednesday, paying tribute to her friend Yosozumi.


"Just being on the podium with my really good friend is just insane."


Brown, born to a Japanese mother and a British father, opted to compete for Britain in 2019, saying the team offered a more relaxed approach.


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