Jagger Eaton and American skateboarders shine as Japan’s first X Games kick off

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Jagger Eaton competes in the last chance to qualify for the SLS Super Crown World Championship on November 13, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Skateboarding made its Olympic debut last summer in Tokyo.

Across Tokyo Bay in Chiba, history is being made again this weekend with the first X Games held in Japan. After the first of three days of competition, the Americans are in a strong position.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics bronze medalist Jagger Eaton leads a five-man American contingent that qualified for Sunday’s skateboard park finals. Meanwhile, fellow Olympian Bryce Wettstein was one of three Americans to advance to the women’s event, which ends on Saturday.

In Olympic skateboarding, men and women compete in park and street events. Both disciplines are also on the program for the X Games this weekend. Poe Pinson was the only American to advance to the women’s street final on Sunday, placing fourth on Friday. The men’s street qualifiers take place on Saturday, with the final immediately following the women’s event on Sunday.

Eaton, 21, won Olympic bronze on the streets last year, but her standout performance on Friday was in the park event where skaters perform tricks in a hollow course similar to an empty pool. He finished with the highest score in the elimination round.

“It’s great to know where my stuff is at, it’s great to know what it’s like to compete, isn’t it?” Three-time X Games medalist Eaton said on the show. “Because traveling here, with all your friends, can be a lot. It can be very stressful, a lot of anxiety, so I’m glad I got through it, I’m glad I finished in the lead and I’m excited for Sunday.

Alongside Eaton in the men’s park final, Tristan Rennie is second, Olympian Zion Wright fourth, Gavin Bottger fifth and Liam Pace seventh.

On the women’s side, Wettstein, 18, led the Americans finishing third in the park qualifier, one spot behind defending Olympic gold medalist Sakura Yosozumi of Japan. Wettstein will be joined in the final by Ruby Lilley and Minna Stess, who qualified fifth and seventh respectively. In Tokyo, Wettstein was the top finisher for Team USA in the women’s park, finishing sixth.

Eaton, Wright, Bottger and Pace are also set to compete in the men’s street qualifier, as is Olympian Jake Ilardi. This event will feature reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuto Horigome of Japan.

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