Skateboarder Reynolds wins at Park World Championships

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Heimana Reynolds of the U.S. airs of of the Vans Skatepark Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during the World Skate Park World Championships. Reynolds finished first overall for the men.
Andre Penner | AP | AP

Heimana Reynolds of Hawaii and Misugu Okamoto of Japan were the top male and female finishers at the World Skate Park World Championships on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

A qualifying event in the new Olympic discipline, the World Skate Park World Championships define park skateboarding competitors’ seeding heading into the 2020 season. In May, the top 20 male and 20 female athletes will be selected to compete in the Olympics, with no more than three athletes per gender representing each country.

The World Skate Park World Championships featured 160 skateboarders from 32 nations. In the men’s final, Brazil qualified four athletes, the U.S. qualified three, and Australia qualified one athlete. On the women’s side, Great Britain and Finland were represented as well as the U.S., Brazil, Australia and Japan.

All eyes were on snowboarder Shaun White, who — in an attempt to cross over to the park discipline of skateboarding for the 2020 Olympics — rode an Open qualifier wild card entry into the quarterfinals and semifinals before being knocked out in advance of Sunday’s final. White finished sixth among Americans, 13th overall.

“I’m very proud of my performance for my first official event,” White wrote in a statement posted Saturday. “I wanna thank the beautiful people of Sao Paulo for coming out, all of my competitors and World Skate for the opportunity!”

Eduardo Musa, president of the Brazilian Skate Confederation, said that getting the World Championships to Brazil was an achievement for his country.

“It is very important to give skateboarders an atmosphere with the warmth of the Brazilian fans in the most important park competition in the season,” he said.

Ayumu Hirano, another snowboarder, who finished silver to White’s gold at the 2018 Olympics, also qualified through to the semifinals, taking 17th overall.

The skateboarding qualification period will end in May with World Skate World Championships events in the park and street disciplines of skateboarding. The top three male and female finishers from those events will receive direct invitations to the Olympics.