Meet The First-Ever Olympic Skateboarding Champions

Skateboarding is making its Olympic debut this year at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Japanese athletes have now won gold in both the women’s and men’s street skateboarding competitions.

Yuto Horigome wins the gold medal in men’s street in the inaugural Olympic skateboarding competition. Nishiya Momiji’s win came a day after. A 13-year-old skateboarder becomes one of the youngest gold medal winners ever as well as a winner of the first gold in women’s skateboarding.

Yuto Horigome was born in Tokyo, Japan on January 7, 1999. He is a Japanese professional skateboarder. Horigome started skating when he was seven years old. He went skating with his father, a former street skateboarder, who taught Horigome how to ride a skateboard.

Momiji Nishiya has etched her name in history. Her victory brought a skateboarding double for Japan. She will turn 14 on August 30, is the second-youngest individual gold medallist at the Olympics, behind Marjorie Gestring, of the United States. The driver won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games at the age of 13 years and 268 days.

The women’s and men’s competitions both involve park and street events. In each, athletes perform optional skillsets within a time limit and are judged based on the combined difficulty and execution shown, similar to diving or gymnastics.

Skateboarding has brought to these Olympics a new convergence of cultures, mixing the boundaryless world of street skateboarding with the more rigid, often uptight structure of more traditional sports.

In skateboarding, the rider is free to select which parts of the course to tackle and which tricks to perform. Even when the same tricks are performed, the flow of the performance can depend greatly on the speed attained. While speed is an important element, marks are awarded for the overall level of difficulty and originality. In addition, competition judges also take into account the overall flow, timing, consistency and the extent skateboarders are able to create the sensation of being suspended in mid-air.

Skateboarding has been included in Tokyo for the first time as part of a bid to make the games “more youthful, more urban include more women”.

One of the reasons people were so thrilled about skateboarding being included in the Olympic program was the youthful excitement it would bring to the Games. Now that youth has proven its ability to shine in ways few could have predicted on the greatest sporting stage of all.

There are various theories about the origins of skateboarding, but it is generally held that the sport began in the 1940s on the west coast of the USA when metal wheels were attached to a narrow wooden board. In the 1950s, clay composite replaced metal as the material of choice for the wheels, and the first ‘Sidewalk Surfboard’ became commercially available, which in turn developed into the skateboard that we know today. The sport was a big hit with the younger generation and with the advent of the urethane wheel in the 1970s, grew in global popularity. Since the 1980s, skateboarding has been an essential part of street culture.

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