Yuto Horigome, a hometown hero, won the first Olympic skateboarding gold medal in Tokyo, Japan’s third in these Games. Despite many of his competitors failing, the world champion maintained his composure to pull off some spectacular acrobatics on the street’s rails, stairs, and benches. Horigome, who grew up in the same cityward as the skater, waved the Japanese flag in excitement, thrilling the small crowd inside Ariake Urban Sports Park. After golds for judoka Naohisa Takato on July 24, 2021, and swimmer Yui Ohashi the next day, Tokyo’s enthusiasm for these Olympics has been sluggish to build, but Horigome’s success has fueled the fires.

Furthermore, Horigome accomplished his feat by upsetting the sport’s famous figure and world number one Nyjah Huston, who stumbled in the sweltering heat and finished seventh out of eight competitors. Horigome, 22, struggled on his early runs in scorching temperatures in Tokyo’s Koto City, but regained his composure at the vital moment, landing four of the five final tricks and earning 9.50 on his penultimate run. Skateboarding, which has its roots in youth culture, has been frowned upon in Japan at times, but after watching the hometown hero win in a nail-biting final, that may change.