Japan's Sakura Yosozumi wins battle of the teens for Olympic skateboarding gold

19-year-old denies Kokona Hiraki, 12, and Sky Brown, 13, becoming the Games' youngest-ever gold medallists

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Japan's Sakura Yosozumi won the battle of the teenagers to win the women's park and maintain Japan's grip over the Olympics skateboaring competition.

The 19-year-old came out on top in a dramatic final at Ariake Urban Sports Park to deny compatriot Kokona Hiraki and Sky Brown becoming the Games' youngest-ever gold medallists.

Yosozumi landed two 540s in her impressive first run and her top score of 60.09 points proved enough for victory ahead of teammate Hiraki, 12, and Brown, 13.

Yosozumi landed two 540s in her impressive first run, earning the highest score to vault to top place.

Yosozumi, whose first name in Japanese means cherry blossom, told reporters she was focused on riding three perfect runs in the finals.

"I guess you can say I've bloomed though, right?" the skater asked reporters with a smile.

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."

Britain's Sky Brown reacts during the women's park final.

In a final full of thrills and plenty of spills, world No 1 Misugu Okamoto, just 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. The combined age of all the women's skateboarding medalists in Tokyo is 86.

Both Brown, at 13 years and 28 days, and Hiraki at 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."

Okamoto Misugu (above) from Japan is carried.

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.

In one of the most touching moments of Wednesday's competition, skaters from Australia and Brazil rushed to comfort Japanese skater Okamoto, who went into the finals in the lead but kept failing to land one of her most complicated tricks in the finals.

After Okamoto, 15, picked herself up and walked out of the bowl wiping away tears, other skaters lifted her onto their shoulders to celebrate her runs.

"We all just really love skateboarding," Yosozumi said.

Updated: August 04, 2021, 7:38 AM