Nyjah Huston competing in the men's skateboard street best trick during X Games Minneapolis 2019 on Aug. 4, 2019 in Minneapolis.
Nyjah Huston may not quite be a household name, but among skateboarding fans he’s one of the biggest stars there is.
And a lot more people are likely to know his name after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Huston successfully defended his world title in street skateboarding, making it three in a row and six overall on Sunday at the World Skate SLS World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, earning valuable qualification points toward the Olympics in the process.
In Sunday’s final, skaters got two runs of 45 seconds each and then five individual trick attempts with the best four scores added together.
Huston led after the first two runs, but heading into the third trick attempt he was in fifth place. That changed after his score of 9.7 — one of the highest in event history — bumped him to second place. On his fourth trick, he flipped the board and landed backward while sliding down a rail to earn a score of 9.3 and jump into first with a total score of 36.9. Japan’s Yuto Horigome was the closest competitor with a score of 36.6, but he fell on his last attempt. Gustavo Ribeiro of Portugal rounded out the podium in third place.
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Huston is one of the most decorated street skateboarders of all time. He owns the most street gold (10) and street medals (16) in X Games history. In addition to his three consecutive world titles, he won an additional world title in 2014 and silvers in 2015 and 2016.
Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in 2020. There are two disciplines: park and street. Street simulates being in the middle of a city, with features such as rails, stairs, benches, walls and curbs on which skaters perform tricks and are judged based on criteria such as difficulty, originality and execution.
Only 20 men and 20 women will compete in each discipline, at a maximum of three per nation per event per gender. The three medalists at next year’s world championships will automatically qualify for a spot. The rest will be determined based on the Olympic rankings, taken from events that started in May 2019 and run through June 2020. This was the last event of this year for skaters to earn points.
Huston came into the weekend ranked second overall with a total of 67,080 points, trailing Horigome with 100,000.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.