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Cory Juneau, the No. 2 ranked park skater in the world, went from making the finals by less than a point to becoming a medalist by less than a point in the first Olympic competition in the history of his event.
The San Diego native found himself facing elimination going into his final run of the men's park skateboarding preliminaries on Thursday, sitting in ninth place after two runs. He barely cleared Spain's Danny Leon 73.00 to 72.24, then showed much-improved form in the finals.
Juneau won a bronze medal with a top finals score of 84.13, just beating out top qualifier Luiz Francisco (83.14). It is the second American medal in the sport, after Jagger Eaton also took bronze in men's street.
Australia's Keegan Palmer, an 18-year-old with dual U.S. citizenship, took gold by a wide margin with a score of 95.83, while Brazil's Pedro Barros took silver with 86.14.
World No. 1 Heimana Reynolds misses finals
The United States entered Tokyo with the No. 1 ranked male skateboarding in both street and park in Nyjah Huston and Heimana Reynolds, respectively. Both failed to medal.
Huston fell short in the street finals after missing four high-risk, high-reward tricks in a row to finish seventh, well behind Japan's Yuto Horigome. That would turn out to be the less disappointing finish, as Reynolds missed out on the finals completely.
Reynolds underwhelmed in his first two preliminary runs, failing to crack a score of 50, then topped out with a 63.09 in his third run. That left him nearly 10 points short of Juneau, the final qualifier.
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