“Winning the contests is not everything”

Yuto Horigome the best Japanese skater ever won the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympic game in 2021 and now he’s one of the best in the world. But even though he’s won first place so many times in a lot of competitions, he says “winning the contests is not everything in skateboarding”. What does he think skateboarding really is?

Horigome: Skateboarding is more like a culture than just mere sports. It’s like been inherited from generation to generation over decades. I think the best part of skateboarding is skating in the streets, not in competition. I can feel freedom when I skate in the streets. Winning contests is cool but I’m more attracted by skating in the streets. In the U.S., street skating is more popular and I feel like people are more into it. In street skating, you can show your style.

-Skateboarding in street, sateboarding in competitions, which one do you think is the best? –

Horigome: To be honest I like both. My dad was a skater and had so many skate videos on his shelf. I was so into watching those videos when I was young. The first video I watched was “Fully Flared” by Lakai skateboarding. The skaters in the video were so cool. And not only did they skate in the streets but also participated in contests. So it got me thinking that I wanna be like them in the future.

-To chase his dream, he went to the U.S. by himself-

Horigome: I wanted to take skate videos so I stayed in LA a couple of times when I was a high school student. When I got there, Mikky Papa was taking care of me. And 1 year has passed and I started getting good results at the contests so I decided to live with my skate friends in the U.S.

-He’s getting better and better after moving to the U.S. He got 3rd place at SLS in 2017. The world started realizing he’s gonna be one of the best skaters in the history-

Horigome: I’ve experienced a lot of things in 2017 other than winning SLS. NIKE SB let me join the “I-58 tour” and we were going around the U.S. while taking skate videos. And there were some famous skaters who I’ve known for ages since I was a little kid and that felt unbelievable. They taught me a lot of stuff like how to face my career as a professional skateboarder not only the technical stuff.

-Through these experiences, he found out what is important to make it as a professional skater-

The key to success is getting along with your surroundings I guess. There are so many great skaters, but being great isn’t enough to be successful. You gotta respect other skaters and most importantly you gotta be humble and kind to your friends and people around you.

-Races and gender don’t matter to him. He’s getting along with people around him-

Horigome: In my case, I was just lucky. Every time when I look back, I just think I’m so lucky. When I went to the U.S. for the first time, I couldn’t speak English at all. All I could say was “Yes” to every sing question, and it cracked my friends up lol. I wanted to get to know them more but I was too shy, but my friends kept talking to me even though my English wasn’t great.

-The reason why he could grow up is the people around him. He wanted to win the contests for them-

The skaters I’ve known in the skate videos since I was a kid, were being so nice to me and taking care of me in the U.S. So I wanted to win for them as regard. I want to make the best video in skateboard history also I want to win the contests. I want to do my best on both.

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