After watching her Japanese teammate Misugu Okamoto dominate with a backside 540 in every contest in 2019, and again in this week’s Semifinal, Sakura Yosozumi decided it was time to break out a 540 of her own that she’d been working on in secret and had never landed in competition before today. Landing it in Run 4 helped boost her to the top of the podium.
“I’ve been working on it for a full year,” Yosozumi said. “I realized anyone who wants to earn a medal in Tokyo should learn a 540.”
Yosozumi’s Run 4 included an ollie over the center island, judo air, lien to tail on the Toyota extension, frontside ollie, frontside Smith grind, backside grab over the center island, her new backside grab 540, backside ollie hip transfer, frontside lipslide through the corner, feeble grind, and a backside noseblunt revert at the buzzer. After seeing her score of 61.75, she shared an emotional moment, hugging and crying tears of joy with her mother, Kyomi, on the sidelines.
The win solidifies Yosozumi’s World Skate Women’s Park ranking as #2 in the world and #2 among Japanese skaters for Olympic quota points, behind Okamoto. With 5 of 8 skaters in the Dew Tour Final representing Japan, vying for just 3 Olympic quota spots, Yosozumi says the result is a huge relief.
Sky Brown, a British-Japanese skater who is friends with Yosozumi, was the first to come running to congratulate her on her run, even after seeing her own top score bested. Brown represents Great Britain on the path to Tokyo and remains at #3 in the World Skate rankings.
“It was a really cool session and it’s so exciting to see Sakura skating at her best and just to get to be at these events with all these skaters,” Brown said. She has a frontside rodeo 540, the only woman who has ever landed the trick in competition. She attempted it in Run 3, trying to get back on top, but fell on it at the buzzer. She landed it after the buzzer in Run 4, previewing what fans might expect in future contests. Brown also learned a backside 540 during the pandemic year, with some coaching from Tony Hawk, but didn’t try it this week.
“I definitely want to do both my 5s in the Olympics and maybe get on the podium, but really I’m just having fun skateboarding and I’m always wonderfully surprised to see where it takes me,” Brown said. “So, I’m not too stressed about the Olympics. I just want to see what happens and enjoy the journey.”
Okamoto, skating on a sprained right knee and wearing a brace under her kneepad, finished 3rd after falling in 3 of 4 runs. Run 2 was her only full-pull run, with a 360 melon over the center island into her backside 540, a frontside tailslide, boneless transfer, frontside grind, frontside air, backside transfer into the bank, a 5-0 grind, and a backside air to tail body jar.
Bryce Wettstein and Jordyn Barratt, the two Americans in the field, each had creative lines and big tricks but were plagued by falls and couldn’t match the 540 fireworks at the top of the field. Wettstein had a great rock and roll on top of the Toyota extension bank and a stylish alley-oop 270 no-grab transfer in each of her runs; Barratt’s crail tailslide in each of her runs and her fourth run tuck-knee eggplant were among the contest highlights.
Women’s Park Final Results
1. Sakura Yosozumi (JPN) 61.71
2. Sky Brown (GBR) 58.50
3. Misugu Okamoto (JPN) 57.00
4. Mami Tezuka (JPN) 51.37
5. Kokona Hiraki (JPN) 47.70
6. Bryce Wettstein (USA) 42.52
7. Kisa Nakamura (JPN) 42.07
8. Jordyn Barratt (USA) 41.07