One look is enough Horigome Yutois the trophy of 2022 and it doesn’t take long to tell skateboarding comes naturally to a 24-year-old.
Last year Tokyo 2020 the gold medalist tidied up the entire competition scene, winning two X Games medals, one gold in Chiba and one bronze in California, a runner-up on the Dew Tour, and two Street League titles.
It was another remarkable season for the Japanese skater, who has rarely slipped since winning his Olympic debut. And this was another case where his rivals were embarrassed.
No one is more aware than Horigome that he has a certain ease when it comes to skateboarding: “People often tell me that my skateboarding ‘looks easy’ or ‘even hard tricks look easy,’ says Olympics. com.
The reality, he says, is a little different.
What people see is what it chooses for them, and it almost always happens in the context of competition. If it looks easy, it’s because it’s supposed to be, but not without hours of hard work and practice:
“This is what a contest looks like,” explains a resident of Tokyo. “The competition is different from normal skating. You get points for being attractive, so you have to compose a good line, make the biggest move towards the end, and get the audience excited.
“When I ride competitions, I try to do tricks I’m good at and hit techniques I can’t miss, so maybe that’s why it looks pretty easy. There’s a lot of practice going on behind the scenes. I don’t think about it when I’m skating, but it’s not always easy.”
Horigome Yuto: I feel ‘more relaxed’ ahead of Paris 2024
If those who watch Horigome ice skating fail to appreciate the level of work that goes into it, then it is at their peril. Like his skateboarding, the Japanese rider is as cool as it gets, but his ambition burns bright.
Back to last year Worldwide street skateboarding in Rome, Italy, Horigome made it clear that after gaining his first Olympic experience, he is already thinking about another:
“When I participated in the Tokyo Olympics, the pressure and expectations were really high. It was really hard. But now that the Tokyo Olympics are over, I see new challenges and goals and want to be active in Paris.”
The Olympic champion’s declaration that he wants to do well at the next Olympics is, of course, not particularly surprising. But for Horigome, Paris also brings a sense of freedom.
While every skateboarder was faced with tackling the Olympics for the first time, there was added pressure on Horigome as the home favourite. He believes that in France the burden of performing will not be so great, and now, after successfully negotiating this particular change, the street skateboarder is quietly convinced of what he can achieve:
“I think this time I will be able to take on the challenge with a different mindset than at the Tokyo Olympics,” said Horigome. “Tokyo was my hometown and it was my first experience, so now I feel a little more relaxed.”
Olympic champion Horigome: Aiming to equal Sharjah’s record
For Horigome to realize his dream of a double in the City of Lights, he must first continue his path to Olympic qualification, which for street skaters will be the World Championships at Aljada Skate Park in the United Arab Emirates, beginning on January 29.
After performing below expectations in the first qualifier in Rome and finishing eighth overall, there is no doubt that Horigome will be looking to equal the record in Sharjah in front of the world.
And given his recent streak of podium finishes, few would bet going the distance against him.