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Team USA skateboarders hope Olympic spotlight will help grow the sport

Jagger Eaton, 20, smiled his way through the Olympic men’s skateboarding street final.

Bobbing his head to the mix of old country and new rap blasting in his AirPods, he used music as motivation in the absence of a crowd, skating his way to a bronze medal for the United States last week.

“I feel like I’m on this high and I don’t know if I’ll ever come down. I’m so stoked, I’m so fortunate,” Eaton said three days after the competition. “To take home that bronze, I’m just trying to re-create the moment in my head. It’s surreal and I’m just so blessed.”

The women’s park skateboarding competition took place Wednesday with Sakura Yosozumi, 19, and Kokona Hiraki, 12, taking gold and silver for Japan, and Sky Brown, 13, taking home bronze for Britain. The men’s park competition will take place Thursday, when Cory Juneau, 22, Heimana Reynolds, 23, and Zion Wright, 22, will represent the United States.

Eaton’s bronze medal in the men’s street contest marks the U.S.’ first and only medal in street skateboarding’s inaugural Olympic competition. Japan’s Yuto Horigome, 22, took home the gold, while Brazil’s Kelvin Hoefler, 28, took home the silver. In the women’s street contest, Momiji Nishiya, 13, and Funa Nakayama,16, won gold and bronze for Japan, while Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, 13, took home silver.

Skateboarding has long been considered a counterculture activity associated with rebellion. Many in the skateboarding community have high hopes that the Olympic spotlight will encourage people around the world to get interested in the sport.

Bronze medallist Jagger Eaton on the podium at the end of the men’s street prelims during the Tokyo Olympics at Ariake Sports Park Skateboarding in Tokyo on July 25, 2021.Jeff Pachoud / AFP – Getty Images

U.S. women’s street skateboarding team member Mariah Duran, 24, said she hopes to see not only growth of the sport, but also understanding of the pure love and dedication people feel for it.

“We love this,” she said. “We’re skating on flat ground in front of the [Olympic] village because we love to do that … our board is attached to us.”

U.S. men’s street skateboarding team member Jake Ilardi, 24, experienced firsthand evidence of the growing popularity of the sport when traveling back home from Tokyo after his Olympic competition.

“When I was on the way back from Japan going home to Sarasota, this lady came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we watched the Olympics this weekend and my daughter wanted to skateboard because she saw you skateboarding,’” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, no way!’ and she showed me the picture of her daughter who had just got a brand-new skateboard.”

However, the inaugural Olympic skateboarding competition in Tokyo also drew some criticism.

The Olympic skatepark was outdoors, without substantial protection from the elements. The temperature in Tokyo was already hotter than 86 degrees Fahrenheit when the competition began July 25 and rose throughout the day.

“I feel like the weather did get to a lot of the competitors, and I don’t want to blame them. It got to me too,” Eaton, who is from Mesa, Arizona, said.

Chris Roberts, a former professional skateboarder and host of the skateboard interview podcast “The Nine Club,” said the outdoor competition site stands in contrast to events held by Street League Skateboarding, a professional street skateboarding competition, which typically holds competitions indoors.

“Having it in an indoor arena would be sick,” Duran said.

Mariah Duran of the United States competes in the women’s street skateboarding finals at the Tokyo Olympics on July 26, 2021.Ben Curtis / AP

Duran and Roberts also said that there’s room for improvement in the coverage street skateboarding received at the Olympics.

“For the people who wanted to tune in and watch, I know it was a little bit difficult to try to figure out how to do it,” Duran said.

Roberts said there also appeared to be a lack of focus on the athletes, as compared to other high-profile sports.

“I think they really missed the mark on putting skateboarding personalities in the right place,” he said. “I feel like when I’m watching other sports in the Olympics, they’re talking about the sport and giving backstories of people and this and that, and these pieces that they do on them, and I just didn’t see any of that.”

Still, Ilardi pointed to the exposure the sport gains by being included in the Olympics.

“I just hope it grows skateboarding,” he said. “My main goal going to the Olympics wasn’t even the medal, it was to inspire more people to skateboard.”

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Pop mogul Simon Cowell was a racing flop with ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec – that didn’t win a penny

SIMON COWELL conquered the music world – but his foray into racing ended in disaster with an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec.

The music mogul, 62, has done it all with bands like One Direction, Little Mix and solo acts Olly Murs and James Arthur, to name but a few.

Cowell owned an 'awful' £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec - but the runner didn't win a single penny in six races


Cowell owned an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec – but the runner didn’t win a single penny in six racesCredit: PA:Press Association
Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby


Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

His Syco label – plus shows such as Britain’s Got Talent – have dominated the entertainment industry and brought him an estimated net worth of £385m.

A lover of Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, he looked perfectly poised to strike a knockout blow in the world of thoroughbreds.

But it turns out his runner was far from No1 in the charts – and never even finished better than fifth during a doomed six-race career.

Things looked promising at the start.

Named It’s A Yes From Me, the runner was trained with the respected James Fanshawe and sent off at 8-1 for his first race in June 2014.

But coming last of five by 13-and-a-half lengths was unfortunately about as good as it got for the gelding.

A month’s rest followed before he was sent off at 40-1 in a six-furlong sprint at Doncaster.

But there he could only manage fifth again, and it was same at Redcar the next month.

‘Dreadfully slow’

By October that year – with further finishes of sixth and tenth – It’s A Yes From Me came second-last in a one-mile race at Kempton.

One analysis of the race warned punters the horse was ‘one to tread carefully’ with.

Well, Cowell and Ant and Dec took that advice to heart as they never raced him again.

The horse was penniless from six races, never finishing high enough to recoup some of that £35,000 investment.

It’s doubtful Cowell, with hundreds of millions in the bank, lost any sleep over that.

But Ant and Dec revealed just how bad things has got with the horse during an interview last year.

Dec said of It’s A Yes From Me: “It was awful, it was a dreadfully slow horse.

“It wasn’t a racehorse it was just a horse, because it didn’t race.

“Every time we got to the BGT studio Simon would say, ‘I keep paying stable fees on this horse, but I’ve never seen it run’.”

Cowell originally wanted to name the nag after himself, but they settled on It’s A Yes From Me when they bought it in 2013.

‘It was awful’

Dec revealed its eventual fate: “I think it got rehomed.”

Of course it’s not all been bad for Cowell at the races.

He was one of the exclusive few at the Epsom Derby in June, having a great time with partner Lauren Silverman and Piers Morgan.

And two weeks later he was at Royal Ascot – where he first discovered his love of racing.

Cowell told SunSport’s Matt Chapman during a chat at Epsom: “I’ve got my son Eric with me today.

“My mum and dad years ago used to take me to Ascot and I was probably about his age – seven or eight.

Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this year


Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this yearCredit: Getty
It's A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races


It’s A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races
The music supremo tweeted about his horse's bad start... which never got much better


The music supremo tweeted about his horse’s bad start… which never got much better

Most read in Horse Racing

“So the fact I can now bring him to the races as well is brilliant. It brings back a lot of good memories.

“Making TV shows is my passion. But racing is actually my second passion.”

He hasn’t made that passion the money-maker his music label is, but don’t rule out Cowell staging his own comeback at the track in the near future.


Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply.

Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare –
  • Gamble Aware –

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply.

Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare –
  • Gamble Aware –
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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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