OQS Budapest: Final Results!

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Women’s Park Finals opened today’s action with the first of two high-wire acts from skateboarders who needed to make up ground in a big way. Great Britain’s Sky Brown has spent the greater part of a year battling back from not one but two successive injuries- and had already climbed a mountain to make it to the finals here today. Then, in a twist of fate worthy of a Hollywood film, she slammed heavily on a backflip on her first run while everybody else made theirs to the tune of 80-plus points.

So: a mountain on top of a mountain now lay before her, but climb it she did with a final run good enough for second and some tears besides. Above her lay the frankly unbelievable Arisa Trew, who has now won both legs of the OQS and established herself as the leading lady of Women’s Park headed into Paris. In third lay Kokona Hiraki, who has made every single final on the Road To Paris and only missed podium in one, which as we mentioned in Shanghai makes her the most consistent skater in this Olympic cycle regardless of discipline or gender.

Men’s Street Finals seems likely to be talked about for a long time to come, and not just because the Best Trick section contained 12 (12!) tricks which scored north of 90 points, but because of one of the single greatest redemption performances of all time. Yuto Horigome has had, by his own standards and admission, something of a shocker on the Road To Paris: a single podium place (3rd at WST Tokyo) in seven previous outings since winning the Olympic gold in Tokyo back in 2021 made for a grim outlook for arguably the best all-round skater of his generation.

Having qualified in first despite hurting his knee in the Semifinals, the window of possibility lay just open, but vanishingly narrow today. Well, he smashed it. 6 points clear on a Japanese clean sweep of the podium in a contest that will go down in the annals of skateboarding lore. Also fantastic was loosey goosey Braden Hoban, who was a completed run short of breaking up the Japanese podium party, but made 3 heaters in Best Trick and had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Men’s Park brought with it yet another “couldn’t possibly happen…could it?” storyline come third runs, but the tempo was set high early when four of the opening runs scored in excess of 90 points each. Today’s crowd favourite was Brazil’s Augusto Akio, who stacked on his first two runs and then pulled out a poetry run with his third for a huge ovation. Tate Carew set a new benchmark in competitive skateboarding with three runs all in excess of 90, which in that terrain is nigh-on impossible. It was Tom Schaar, however, who did a Yuto and grasped a ticket to Paris from being all- but disregarded as a possibility because of country quotas in a resurgent US field.

Unquestionable outright winner, however, was the Australian rascal Keegan Palmer who was a single last trick on his last run (backside 360 kickflip indy over the hip!) off matching Tate Carew’s triple 90+ feat- but had already by that point secured victory with a performance right on the edge of control. He skated like his tail was on fire, and when that gels for him he is close to a league of his own.

One of the wildest Men’s Park contests to date, no question.

AND AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH- wait until you hear what happened in Women’s Street.

For a little bit of context, OQS Shanghai was an unusual Women’s Street contest in that some of the leading lights suffered something close to a confidence collapse during Best Trick.

It was clear today how much work everybody had put in since: the runs were crisper, the landings louder.

Up to the midway point in Best Trick, everything was proceeding as most of the skaters involved would have hoped: 7 of the 8 entrants had full runs, and only 2 of the first 16 Best Tricks were missed.

THEN: (and I have to refer to my notes here to make sure I have followed every twist and turn) everybody save Paige Heyn- who was already out of podium contention by then- missed their third tricks. At this point Liz Akama was sitting in a deserved and comfortable-looking first place.

THEN: Yumeka Oda made a kickflip front feeble to bounce from 7th into 1st place, which we thought was the story of the contest.

THEN: Funa Nakayama, who at this point only had 166 points total and was lying in last place, pulled a heelflip backside lipslide on a 9-stair handrail (which- as far as I am aware- has never been done by a woman before, although I’m glad to be corrected)… and she shoots into 2nd place with the skateboarding equivalent of a hole-in-one, a 3- point shot from the halfway line, a Hail Mary- choose your sporting metaphor here. Absolute scenes at this point, OK: THERE is the story on top of the story of the contest- or so we thought.

AND THEN: (longest sentence in history incoming) Coco Yoshizawa- who had been sitting pretty in second before all this mayhem began, and had been bumped down off the podium by those last two heroics- with the last roll of the dice…

everybody was like- ‘there’s no way…’- last trick, I tell you- she pulls a bigspin kickflip front board, and at this point I’m going to cut and paste my caveat from up there-

(which- as far as I am aware- has never been done by a woman before, although I’m glad to be corrected)

… to bounce back from 4th all the way to 1st place in the most outrageously see-sawing skateboard contest you ever did see. Pandemonium ensues.

Without doubt, the heaviest Women’s Street contest of all time. That scene is progressing in real time. Hectic stuff.

With all that bedlam, it almost slips under the radar that Japan won all 6 podium spots in Street here today (actually, 7 of the top 8).

We will bring you all the news as pertains to Paris shortly, but for now let us sign out from one of the biggest days in competitive skateboarding history, for real.

At least, that is, until Paris.

Credit: Worldskate.org

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