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Japan dominates inaugural Olympic women's park skateboarding

Kokona Hiraki (L), 12, Sakura Yosozumi, 19, and Sky Brown, 13, won silver, gold and bronze medals, respectively, the the first-ever Olympic women's park skateboarding competition on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Olympics/Twitter
Kokona Hiraki (L), 12, Sakura Yosozumi, 19, and Sky Brown, 13, won silver, gold and bronze medals, respectively, the the first-ever Olympic women's park skateboarding competition on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Olympics/Twitter

Aug. 4. (UPI) -- Japan dominated the inaugural Olympic women's park skateboarding event in Tokyo on Wednesday, claiming both gold and silver medals.

Sakura Yosozumi, 19, won the sport's first gold with countryman Kokona Hiraki, 12, taking silver and the distinction of being Japan's youngest Olympic medalist.

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Sky Brown of Britain, who turned 13 early last month, also made history with a bronze-medal finish that cemented her as her country's youngest Olympic medalist.

If either Hiraki or Brown had claimed the gold, they would have also claimed the title of the Olympics' youngest-ever gold medalist -- a distinction held by American diver Marjorie Gestring, who took the top prize at age 13 in the 1938 Berlin Games.

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Japan -- which has dominated on the board this Olympics with three golds, a silver and a bronze -- almost filled the podium on Wednesday as Okamoto Misugu, 15, the top ranked skater in the world, seemed destined for a medal with a superb skate on her final attempt. But she fell near the end of her run and landed in fourth place.

Sakura claimed the gold on her first of three 45-second skates of the Ariake Park bowl in Tokyo, which included a 540 aerial that landed her a 60.09, a whole point higher than Hiraki's 59.04.

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Dressed in a white jump suit akin to a painter's, Hiraki skated a solid second run that included some technical moves, including a jump off the hitching post, that earned her the silver but wasn't enough to edge out her teammate for gold.

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Brown, ranked third in the world, scored well during her first two skates despite falling on both as she attempted a kickflip indy.

On her third attempt, the Japan-born Brit made the technical move that bumped Misugu into fourth place.

U.S. skater Bryce Wettstein, 17, finished sixth with a 44.50 that she made on her first skate. She fell early during her final two runs.

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The Tokyo Olympics' final skateboarding event, the men's park, is scheduled for Thursday. In that event, Japan could finish a golden sweep for all four skateboarding competitions at the Games. Thirteen-year-old Momiji Nishiya of Japan won the gold medal in the women's street skateboarding competition last week. Japan's Yuto Horigome also won gold in the men's street final during the first week.

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Australia's gold medalist Keegan Palmer performs in the men's park skateboarding final on August 5. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

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