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Skateboarder Keegan Palmer lands Australia’s record-equalling gold

Kamahl Cogdon and Brianna Travers, August 6, 2021 8:47AM Kids News

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Keegan Palmer won Australia’s first skateboarding medal with his gold in the men's park final on day 13 at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Getty Images media_cameraKeegan Palmer won Australia’s first skateboarding medal with his gold in the men's park final on day 13 at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Getty Images


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Skateboarder Keegan Palmer has won Australia’s first Olympic skateboarding medal, with his gold in the men’s park competition taking our tally to a record equalling 17.

The Tokyo Games has delivered our biggest gold medal haul since the 2004 Athens Olympics, where we also took home 17 gold.

But with more athletes still in with a shot at gold in the final days of competition, Tokyo could become our most successful Games ever.

Palmer, 18, came into the men’s park event final ranked fifth, but shot to the front when he delivered an amazing first run score of 94.04. He backed that up with a 95.83 on his final run.

Tokyo 2020 - Skateboard media_cameraKeegan Palmer came into the park event ranked fifth but shot to first place after his first run. Picture: Getty Images

The rest of the field was not even close, with Brazil’s Pedro Barros claiming silver with a score of 86.14 and Cory Juneau from the US taking bronze with 84.13.

Fellow Australian Kieran Woolley finished fifth with a best ride of 82.04.

Palmer, who was born in the US but raised in Australia, was destined for skating success from a young age. He first stepping on a skateboard at the age of two.

By six he’d flourished* at his first competition and at nine he knew he could turn it into a career after winning the Australian bowl-riding championships – prompting his family to move from Currumbin on the Gold Coast to the world’s skating mecca of San Diego in the US four years ago.

Palmer came into the Olympics ranked seventh in the world and was a dark horse* in the men’s park event, having not competed on the global circuit for months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s a huge honour and I’m so grateful to bring gold back to Australia,” he said after his historic win.

“It means the world to me because it’s where everything started for me. I’m so grateful and I just can’t believe it.”

Tokyo 2020 Mens Skateboarding Day 13 media_cameraSkateboarder Keegan Palmer, 18, collects his gold medal after victory in the men’s park event. Picture: Alex Coppel

While he now lives in the US, Palmer is a dual citizen of America and Australia but remains loyal to the green and gold.

“I take myself as a full Australian, it was where everything started, it was where I learnt how to skate,” he said.

“It’s where all the hard work happened, the blood, sweat and tears. I had to bring it home for Australia.”

Palmer’s skateboarding medal in the sport’s Olympic debut* was the second gold for Australia on day 13 of competition.

We also took gold in the men’s kayak double 1000m, also known at the K2 1000m.

Young Aussie stars Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen pulled off a surprise win when they held off a fast-finishing German team.

Canoe Sprint - Olympics: Day 13 media_cameraJean van der Westhuyzen and Tom Green in action on their way to a gold medal in the men’s K2 1000m. Picture: Getty Images

Green and van der Westhuyzen, best mates from the Gold Coast, powered their kayak over the line in 3min 15.28sec, just .304 of a second ahead of Germany.

Day 13 also saw Australia score its first track and field medal with Queensland’s Ash Moloney, 21, winning bronze in the decathlon.

The decathlon is a gruelling* event which see competitors do 10 events over two days.

It is the first time Australia has won an Olympic decathlon medal. The previous best finish by an Australian was Peter Mullins who finished sixth at the 1948 Olympics in London.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 13 media_cameraAustralian Ash Moloney throws the javelin as part of his bronze medal performance in the decathlon. Picture: Getty Images


  • haul: current amount or score
  • flourished: performed well, thrived
  • dark horse: a competitor who is not very well known or does not stand out as a likely winner
  • debut: first appearance
  • gruelling: extremely tiring and demanding


Flipping out over new Olympic sports

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Our greatest Olympic day ever

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  1. How old is Keegan Palmer?
  2. How old was he when he first stepped on a skateboard?
  3. What event did Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen win?
  4. How many events are part of the decathlon?
  5. What medal did Ash Moloney win in the decathlon?


1. Interview With a Medallist
What a performance from Keegan Palmer! Imagine you are a sports presenter covering the Olympics and are given the task of interviewing Keegan following his medal winning performance. Make a list of questions you would ask.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
What interview questions would you ask fellow Australian skateboarder Kieran Woolley who finished fifth in the men’s park event? Remember to show sensitivity in your questioning in case he is feeling disappointed with his result.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Personal and Social Capability

Acrostic Poem
Think of a word that you associate with the Olympics (for example, athlete, medal, compete, glory, Tokyo, Olympics etc.) and create an acrostic poem to share about the Tokyo Olympic Games. Try and include varied words throughout your poem to maintain the interest of the reader.

Extra Reading in sport