Zion Wright looks on from the podium after finishing first place in the Men's Park Final at the Dew Tour on May 23, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Zion Wright won a lot more than a men’s skateboarding park competition on Sunday.
The 22-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, also earned valuable points toward a spot in Tokyo this summer when skateboarding makes its Olympic debut.
In one of the last chances to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo, Wright pulled out all the stops on his fourth and final run at the Dew Tour stop in Des Moines, Iowa. He was in podium position when he dropped in for his last run, having put down a respectable score of 83.73 on his first run.
His best was yet to come at the brand new skate park.
After coming off the board on his middle two attempts, Wright was as close to perfect as he could have gotten on his last run. He started off with a backside 540 double grab and continued on with smooth transitions, big tricks and riding that was more than worthy of advancing to the biggest stage the sport has ever seen.
“Words can’t describe it, I’m just happy, I’m stoked,” he said in an interview on the live stream. “I had to go and put it down and it worked out.”
Wright scored 91.04 to move into first place, and he wasn’t the only American on the podium. Gavin Rune Bottger scored an 86.00 to take third place for his first podium in an Olympic qualifying event.
According to USA Skateboarding social media, Wright and three U.S. women’s park skaters reached the threshold to earn an Olympic berth on Sunday, although the team won’t be officially named until July. The women are Bryce Wettstein (sixth), Jordyn Barratt (eighth) and Brighton Zeuner (eliminated in semifinals).
Nyjah Huston, who’s the top-ranked athlete in the world in men’s street skateboarding, took first in his event and remains in strong position to be among the athletes to represent the country in Tokyo. The final opportunity for street skateboarders to earn Olympic qualifying points is in two weeks at the world championships in Rome.