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Poppy’s ready to put on another show

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Novocastrian Poppy Starr Olsen was a little concerned “rules” would get in the way of skateboarders being allowed to do their thing on the Olympic stage.

But, Australia’s world No.4 need not have been concerned – not even the steeped-in-history five-ring circus could corral this new breed of Games athlete.

“The biggest thing that I’ve picked up on is that it’s still just like a regular skating comp,” Olsen said ahead of Wednesday’s start of the park competition.

“That was the thing I was worried about – is how different was it going to be – was it going to be unmotivating not having anyone clapping.

“I saw some of the street girls, they would go for a trick and then stop and they were allowed to walk back up and try again – I wasn’t sure how many rules there would be.

“But, everyone seems like themselves.”

The park skaters have a tough ask to match the hype of their street counterparts, who shone bright on the opening days of the Games with a double gold to Japan, which included the youngest ever Olympic podium – two 13-year-olds and another aged 16 taking the medals in the women’s event.

It could be another teen onslaught in the Park event, with Japanese World No.1 Misugu Okamoto aged 15 and British 13-year-old Sky Brown the world No.3.

Olsen, 21, knows she’s right up there with the best of them – but that doesn’t stop her being in awe at the teen wonders.

“They’re so talented and they’re doing such crazy good tricks,” she said.

“I think when you’re younger you just don’t think about stuff that much.”

While the street course featured riders grinding on rails and taking on steps, the park course is more like the traditional bowl seen at skate parks. 

Australia will have two teens in the men’s event on Thursday in Keegan Palmer, 18, and Kieran Woolley, 17.

Palmer is the world No.7, but both he and Woolley will have their work cut out for them keeping the US and Brazil off the podium.

US superstar Heimana Reynolds – the 23-year-old from Honolulu – and countryman Cory Juneau are ranked No.1 and 2 in the world respectively, while Brazil’s Luis Francisco and Pedro Barros are ranked third and fourth.

Reynolds, Barros and Francisco have shared the gold and silver medals at the two most recent world championships.

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