American Jagger Eaton took the bronze medal in the first-ever Olympic skateboarding final on Sunday at Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, while World No. 1 Nyjah Huston missed the podium.
Japanese skateboarding star Yuto Horigome claimed the first Olympic gold medal in the sport's history, winning the men's street competition with a score of 37.18 (Run 1: 8.02, Run 2: 6.77, Trick 1: 9.03, Trick 2: 0.00, Trick 3: 9.35, Trick 4: 9.50, Trick 5: 9.30). Brazil's Kelvin Hoefler won the silver medal with a 36.15 and Eaton scored a 35.35, including a 9.40 on his third trick.
In each round of Olympic street skateboarding, athletes complete two runs and five “tricks” (which are executed like runs but only involve a single trick instead of a series of tricks). Five judges evaluate each run and trick on a 0-10-point scale. The highest and lowest scores for each run or trick are dropped, and the remaining three scores are averaged to give a score for each run and trick (seven total). The best four scores from runs or tricks are added to give the total round score (best possible score is 40), and the athlete with the highest combined score wins.
Huston got off to a strong start in the final, scoring a 7.90 and 9.11 on his first two runs and a 9.09 on his first trick, but he crashed out on his next four trick attempts. Huston had qualified third out of prelims behind Eaton and French star Aurelien Giraud. Giraud ended up sixth.
Eaton was in bronze medal position before his final trick with a chance to move up to silver, but crashed out and stayed in third place.
Huston, 26, won his first major street skateboarding competition at 10 years old in 2005, and was widely expected to at least make the podium Tokyo. In 2012, he became the highest paid skateboarder in the world, and as of 2013, had won more prize money than any other skateboarder in history. He already has 18 X Games and six World Skateboarding Championship medals under his belt, but will have to wait to write his name into the Olympic history books.