It Was A Podium Sweep By The Japanese In Nanjing.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Podium - Women's Park Nanjing, China ~ photo via World Skate

Well, we saw this coming during the Dew Tour in Long Beach, and in the early morning hours (if you were up at 3 AM watching the finals in Pacific Time) it actually happened. The podium at the International Skateboarding Open in Nanjing, China - a 2020 Olympics qualifying event for women's park - saw a full podium sweep by the Japanese team and the USA team had to be content with a 7th place finish from USA's Bryce Wettstein, who rode really well and is starting to really get into her groove at these competitions.

For so many years the USA has really been the leader in women's skateboarding, but in the past two years we have seen a gradual, and now, an even more powerful shift with the Japanese and Brazilian women really pushing hard  - they are not just lapping at our heels, they are running fast to try and get past us.

The Olympics are just 370 days away and we certainly have a lot of catching up to do when you now have female skaters like twelve-year-old Misugu Okamoto from Japan, throwing down 540's that are high and clean and taking 1st at the last two Olympic qualifying events, with scores nowhere near her closest competitor. That is the new reality, and fast progression we are seeing in women's skateboarding.

It was also unfortunate that three of the top ranked USA skaters were out with injuries at this event - Brighton Zeuner hurt her ankle in practice sessions, Jordyn Barratt appeared before semi-finals with her arm in a sling, and Nicole Hause is still recovering from a knee injury. So the USA field of competitors was down by three...

Thirteen-year-old Minna Stess was back and skating extremely well after recuperating from elbow surgery just a few months ago, and scored a nice 10th place finish for the USA. Minna is pushing hard this season and is definitely "one to watch".

Brazil's Yndiara Asp fresh off her stunning VPS win in Montreal,  had to settle for 4th place at this event.

Sky Brown was in first as we headed from quarter-finals into semi's but could not keep that momentum going, as the top-seeded skaters where added to the mix during semi-finals, where she then dropped to third. She put in a good showing for Britain, taking home 5th place during the finals.

Poppy Starr Olsen from AU skated well and scored a nice 6th place finish. Poppy has been coming over to the USA from Australia and has skated with the American girls for many years now, and is always a force to be reckoned with.

Isadora Pacheco rounded out the finals with an 8th place finish.

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