Santiago and Zion shine in rainy Des Moines as Rosa leads Brazilian surge

The line-ups for Sunday’s street and park skateboarding finals at the 2021 Dew Tour event – which doubles as a global Olympic qualifier – are now set as a clutch of stylish Brazilians ran the table in women's street and Zion Wright and Manny Santiago put in outstanding performances.

Brazil’s female street skaters came ready to shred early on Saturday at the Dew Tour stop in Des Moines, Iowa, kicking off the second day of competition in style.

World number-one street skater Pamela Rosa just edged her Brazilian teammate Leticia Bufoni (fourth in the world and an icon of women’s skating) to top spot, with 12-year-old prodigy and world number-two Rayssa Leal finishing not far behind in fifth.

READ MORE | Leticia Bufoni: “Insane how women’s skating has grown”

“It’s a lot of pressure out there,” said Bufoni, after her two flawless heats that were enough for second-place in the women’s street semifinal. “Everyone from Brazil is skating really well, and we’re all a big family, and I want to make sure I get myself to the Olympics. It’s been a dream for me to get there and so I’m just stoked I got it done so far and I’m going to be in the finals.”

Poe Pinson was the only American to reach the finals after 2021 USA women’s street national champion Mariah Duran, veteran Alexis Sablone and Samarria Brevard all went out after struggling in their semifinal heats.

But there were American flags all over the men’s park semifinals later in the day, with seven of the eight finalists coming from Team USA after a semifinal series that was hampered, once more, by weather delays. Gavin Rune Bottger finished top of the pack with high-flying Zion Wright behind him in second and Oskar Rozenberg, of Sweden, the only non-American to push through to the men’s park finals, in third.

“It feels great to just be out here,” said Wright, who’s a star in the street skating discipline but having no trouble adapting to the park side of things in Des Moines. “Sometimes I try to add some of my street stuff to what’s here in the park, but that all really depends on what’s in front of me.”

Huston debut and Santiago style

Saturday’s action concluded with the marquis event of the men’s street semifinal, where some of the top skaters in the world – the likes of Nyjah Huston and Jamie Foy (both USA) – were in 2021 Dew Tour action for the first time.

But it was Manny Santiago, representing the island of Puerto Rico with a smile, who stole the show with a pair of outstanding heats that saw him lead the pack all night and finish top of the eight-team field heading into tomorrow’s finals.

“I’m just really happy to be back doing this,” said the 35-year-old Santiago, clearly beloved among his fellow competitors. “I tried to turn the COVID-19 break from a negative into a positive. I took time to work on myself, my skating and my mentality. I was feeling all the energy and all the support today and being able to represent Puerto Rico means a lot to me. It’s a powerful feeling.”

World number-one Huston was nowhere near his best in the semis, finishing sixth of eight. But it was enough to book him a place in Sunday’s final round.

“It feels good,” Huston said after his second semifinal heat. “The pressure was on for sure. I was just trying to land everything I could and I’m happy to be skating with these guys in the finals tomorrow.”

The 2021 Dew Tour event concludes on Sunday 23 May with four finals in men’s and women’s street and park skating.

The Dew Tour stop in Iowa is the final place to earn ranking points toward qualification for the debut of park skateboarding at Tokyo 2020 from 4-5 August 2021. As for the street category, athletes will have one more chance to bolster their world ranking – which determines who will take part in the inaugural Olympic Skateboarding Competition – in Rome, Italy (30 May - 6 June).

The final field of athletes for the skateboarding competition in Tokyo will be based on World Skate rankings and will consist of 20 athletes per discipline with a maximum of three skaters per country/per discipline. All five participating continents must be represented.

The 2021 Dew Tour champion in each discipline in Des Moines will collect 60,000 ranking points toward potential qualification for the Olympics this July and August.

The Finals Field (all on Sunday 23 May)

Men’s Street
Manny Santiago (Puerto Rico)
Aurelien Giraud (France)
HORIGAME Yuto (Japan)
Vincent Milou (France)
Jamie Foy (USA)
Nyjah Huston (USA)
Shane O’Neill (Australia)
Felipe Gustavo (Brazil)

Women’s Street
Pamela Rosa (Brazil)
Leticia Bufoni (Brazil)
Roos Zwetsloot (Netherlands)
Julia Brueckler (Austria)
Rayssa Leal (Brazil)
Keet Oldenbeuving (Netherlands)
Lore Bruggeman (Belgium)
Poe Pinson (USA)

Men’s Park
Gavin Rune Bottger (USA)
Zion Wright (USA)
Oskar Rozenberg (Sweden)
Jagger Eaton (USA)
Liam Cloud Pace (USA)
Cory Juneau (USA)
Thomas Schaar (USA)
Tate Carew (USA)

Women’s Park
OKAMOTO Misugo (Japan)
Sky Brown (Great Britain)
Bryce Wettstein (USA)
YOSOZUMI Sakura (Japan)
TEZUKA Mami (Japan)
KIRAKI Kokona (Japan)
NAKAMURA Kisa (Japan)
Jordyn Barratt (USA)

GO OLYMPIC. GET ALL THIS.

Free live sport events. Unlimited access to series. Unrivalled Olympic news & highlights.