Sky Brown third at Park Skateboarding World Champs - Shaun White eliminated

Youth to the fore as 13-year-old Misugu Okamoto takes the women's title in Sao Paulo while Shaun White fails to reach men's final

By Rory Jiwani

Sky Brown's Tokyo 2020 dream is very much alive.

The 11-year-old Briton, seeking to become the youngest competitor at an Olympic Games for 28 years, was third in the Park Skateboarding World Championships in Sao Paulo.

Victory went to 13-year-old Misugu Okamoto with another Japanese, 17-year-old defending champion Sakura Yosozumi, taking silver.

2019 Park Skateboarding World Champs Women's Podium (L-R) runner-up Sakura Yosozumi, winner Misugu Okamoto, third-placed Sky Brown

Brown secures podium finish

Born to a Japanese mother and an English father, Brown opted to represent Great Britain in March and was named to the five-strong Skateboard GB team aiming to qualify for the sport's Games debut.

In April, while still 10 years old, she won the women's park event at the UK Skateboard Championships.

But she had yet to make the podium in a major international competition, finishing fifth at the X Games in Minneapolis last month.

Sky Brown competing at the X Games Minneapolis in August 2019

She put that right in Brazil after splitting the two Japanese teenagers to take second place in the semi-finals.

Yosozumi led with her first round effort of 52.00, but Brown immediately displaced her from top spot thanks to a score of 55.00 with her Japanese rival hugging her as she finished her run.

But it was top qualifier Okamoto who went in front in round two, earning a mark of 61.17 which would not be beaten.

Brown lost second place in the third round as Yosozumi, the reigning champion from last November in Nanjing, scored 60.00.

And despite saving her best for her fourth and final run - a 58.13 - the youngster had to settle for third place.

However, that podium finish saw her gain points towards Olympic qualification with last year's bronze medallist Poppy Starr Olsen and Lizzie Armanto fourth and fifth respectively.

Kisa Nakamura, a medallist at all three previous editions of the event, finished down in eighth.

Brown would be 12 if she was to qualify for Tokyo 2020, making her the youngest Olympian since Carlos Front was cox for Spain's men's rowing eight at Barcelona 1992.

White misses out on men's final

Meanwhile, Shaun White has some serious thinking to do after failing to reach the men's final.

The three-time Olympic snowboard halfpipe gold medallist was 13th in the semi-finals with three of his fellow Americans going through to Sunday's final.

A maximum of three athletes from each country can make the Olympic competitions in the park and street disciplines.

White is a five-time X Games medallist in Vert (vertical ramps) but that event is not being contested at Tokyo 2020.

And, speaking to SporTV after qualifying on Thursday, 'The Flying Tomato' suggested that this competition could make or break his Olympic aspirations.

He said, "This will be the deciding event, basically told myself I’d go here and give it everything I have, and then, after this competition, see how I stack up with the other skaters and then make the decision to fully commit to the Olympics.

"Park skating is new for me. It's been difficult to take my tricks from the big ramp and bring it into the bowl." - Shaun White speaking to SporTV after Thursday qualifying


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