Wonder-trick gives Japan's Yuto a gold medal for his Pokemon

Japanese world champion held his nerve to be crowned skateboarding's first Olympic gold medallist

AFP July 25, 2021


Japan's Yuto Horigome said he would hang his gold medal on his Pokemon stuffed toy after he unveiled a wonder-trick to become the Olympics' first skateboarding champion on Sunday.

Horigome was trailing after two poor runs in the final but he reeled off a string of monster moves, including a nollie backside 270 railslide that he had never performed before in competition.

The Tokyo native scored 9.50 for the trick, the highest score for any move in the final, as he won ahead of Brazil's Kelvin Hoefler and Jagger Eaton of the United States, with American star Nyjah Huston seventh.

"That was new to any competition. I started to practise that trick just before the finals, it's something I've never tried in any final," the Tokyo native said.

"I was very nervous but I was so happy I made it."

The 22-year-old had four scores over 9.0 as he dominated the tricks section, in a repeat of the world championships final in June where he denied Huston a fourth straight title.

Skaters each have two 45-second runs on the equipment and five shots at a one-off trick. Their best four scores out of the seven make up their final total.

Horigome, who grew up near the Olympic venue but is now based in the United States, said he would hang the medal with his others -- on his Pokemon toy.

"First of all I want to show it to my friends and family who supported me," he said.

"Afterwards I'll keep it in my house. I have other medals on my Pokemon so maybe I'll keep it next to them."


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