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Meet the Olympians: Yuto Horigome (Japan)

The Fearless Street Skater Representing His Home

Skateboarding is finally set to make its debut at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan starting in July! It’s about time, if you ask us. The level of physical talent and mental fortitude possessed by the top skateboarders is a sight to see. At these next Olympics, people all around the world will finally see the incredible abilities that these pro skaters have to offer. 

There will be 20 skaters in each division; Men’s Park, Men’s Street, Women’s Park, and Women’s Street. With only 80 skateboarders able to earn a spot at the Olympics, the qualifying contests leading up to the Games have been extremely competitive. Each skater needs to push themselves to rank higher in the qualifying rounds in order to make it to the Olympics.

One of the skaters who won’t have to do much travelling is Japan’s own, Yuto Horigome. This blog will take a closer look at Horigome and how he has performed at recent Olympic qualifying events.  We’ll also go over some of his sponsors, his Nike SB x April Skateboards pro part and more. If you haven’t heard of Horigome yet, get ready, because he has a lot to offer.

How Do You Qualify For The Olympics?

The biggest confusion behind the Olympics is picking out the competitors. You’ve probably seen many names, but you’ve already heard that there are only 16 spots. So, how does this work?

Selecting the competitors is based on a point system. These points are earned by skating in specifically sanctioned skateboarding events. There are two qualifying seasons. The first was from January 2019 to September 30, 2019. So this one has already happened.

The second qualifying season is from October 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020. The skater’s best two scores from the first season get added to their best 5 scores from the second season. This will create the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings.

From this ranking, you will get who is eligible to compete in the Olympic Games. Now, part of what determines this is that there are quotas that have to be met for each country and continent. This way you can have an equal balance of skaters from different countries and not only skaters from USA, Japan, and Brazil. 

Okay, now let’s get into the actual skaters of the Olympics! It’s without a doubt one of the biggest achievements for a skater to go on this journey to the Olympics. But, it looks like they’re having a blast, so I think they’re enjoying the journey!

Who is Yuto Horigome?

Yuto Horigome is a professional skateboarder, born on January 7th, 1999, in Tokyo, Japan on the outskirts of the city. Horigome’s father, a skateboarder, introduced Yuto to skateboarding at the young age of seven. Growing up, he would spend as much time as possible skating at his local skatepark, “Amazing Square”.

Though there was a vert ramp at his local skatepark which he frequently skated, Yuto took more of a liking to street skating. That’s not to say he doesn’t still kill it on vert, because he definitely does! For Yuto, however, he felt vert skating was a little “boring” compared to the endless options of street skating.

It didn’t take long for Horigome to get sponsored by a local Japanese board company due to his natural talent. By the age of 14, Yuto began travelling to the United States just to skate. In 2015, he entered various skateboard contests in Los Angeles and began getting more recognition in the states.

In 2015, Yuto was sponsored by Blind Skateboards, a major achievement for him. A few years after that, Yuto started placing first in many competitions. These include:

  • Oi STU Open in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (2017)
  • Dew Tour in Long Beach (2018)
  • Multiple Street League Competitions (2018 & 2019)
  • X-Games in Minneapolis (2019)

He’s clearly a beast on a skateboard and is extremely talented. He’s been going up against some of the top skaters in the world, and coming out in first place. How does he do it? Let’s look at what he’s doing now.

What has Yuto Been Up To Lately?

Currently, Yuto Horigome is a member of the Japanese Olympic Skateboarding Team. He is currently ranked 2nd in the Olympic World Skateboarding Ranking for Men’s Street with 133,200 points. Ahead of him is Nyjah Huston (USA).

Most recently, Yuto placed 5th at the World Skate Oi STU Open Men’s Street Finals in November. Prior to that, he earned a 2nd place at the Street League World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Along with a 1st place at the International Skateboarding Open in Henan, China in September. 

Yuto Horigome left Blind Skateboards in January of 2019. He then joined April Skateboards in May of 2019 when Shane O’Neill turned him pro. Some of Yuto’s current sponsors include April Skateboards, Nike SB, Spitfire, and Venture.

On top of the heavy contest schedule, Horigome is also known for his incredible Nike SB x April Skateboards pro video part as well as multiple appearances on The Berrics. In 2016, The Berrics helped introduce Yuto to the North American skateboarding community when they released a Next New Wave video part from Horigome. Check out that video part below.

Yuto Horigome “Next New Wave” Highlights

That’s right, your eyes didn’t deceive you. Remember that huge 20-stair handrail Rob Dyrdek 50-50’d in the DC shoes commercial? Well, Yuto one-upped him at this famous spot with a buttery frontside 5-0 down the same handrail. Insane! Check out some more highlights and video parts below.

Here’s Yuto’s Pro Part from the Nike XB x April Skateboards Collab. Even though it’s only 2 minutes, it’s incredibly entertaining. Yuto has such a clean style and will make any trick down any obstacle look easy.

This video part had so many jaw-dropping moments for a 2 minute part. Crazy technical skating, with lots of heavy bangers added in for good mixture, Yuto Horigome impressed the skateboarding world when this highly anticipated video part dropped from the young pro. 

The first couple of tricks from Yuto’s part made for an insane line; The cleanest nollie frontside 180 kickflip you’ll ever see, followed by a massive switch bigspin heelflip down and over a 10-stair with poles at the bottom. Also, try wrapping your head around his ender! A nollie frontside 180 up onto a handrail, where he locks in a switch feeble grind then 180s out… WHAT!?

If this is just his first pro video part, we can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in the future.

In Conclusion

We expects to see the same clean and consistent runs from Yuto at the upcoming 2020 Olympics! He’s clearly a force to be reckoned with on the competitive street skateboarding circuit. Yuto is constantly improving, adding more tricks to his arsenal and dialling in his most difficult tricks, getting them consistent and contest-ready.

He still hasn’t even reached his prime, so be sure to follow alongside his journey on the road to the Olympics. He may not be a household name yet, but within a few years you can bet you’ll be seeing Yuto Horigome on a box of Wheaties in a grocery store near you.

We’re not sure about you guys, but we can’t wait to see what Yuto brings to the table at the upcoming Olympics. Though most of us will simply be watching the Olympics, Braille Skateboarding knows that some of you dream of competing at the Olympics one day. We can help you achieve that goal! Check out Skateboarding Made Simple in our Online Shop. It’s the most detailed lesson plan for skateboarding in existence, and you will surely improve your skills after watching and studying our SMS tutorials. With 9 different volumes, you’ll go from learning how to ride on a board, to skating skateparks and landing more advanced flatground tricks…FIRST TRY! Now get out there and skate!

Feature Image Credit: Street League Skateboarding.

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