TOKYO — The top two spots on the podium for the first women’s skateboarding event in Olympic history are a combined 26 years old. Eight years younger than the fourth-place finisher. If one stood on the other’s shoulders they might be 10 feet tall.
Add in the bronze medalist and you get all the way to 42 — almost the average age of the U.S. equestrian jumping team, for comparison’s sake.
Momiji Nishiya, from Osaka, Japan, won the event with a 15.26 score, despite falling on her first two individual tricks (the bottom three scores from two 45-second runs and four tricks are dropped). Just behind her was Brazillian Rayssa Leal at 14.64, who, at just a few months younger than Nishiya, would have been the youngest woman ever to win gold. Sixteen-year-old Funa Nakayama, also of Japan, took bronze.
The only U.S. rider to advance to the finals, Alexis Sablone, a 34-year-old from Brooklyn, finished fourth despite posting the single-highest trick score of the day.
Host country Japan won two golds and a bronze in the first 48 hours between the men’s and women’s street — is it any wonder they wanted the sport added to the Olympics?
The decision to do so has been a source of ambivalence in the skateboarding community since it was announced in 2016 that the lifestyle would be appearing alongside more conventional sports in Tokyo. But the all-teenage podium seems to indicate that the next generation of top skateboarders are embracing the opportunity to compete on this stage.
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