The aroma of marijuana wasn’t quite there. It did, however, make you ponder some things. Perhaps at a later date and location.

Despite the lack of spliffs, skateboarding arrived in Tokyo this week for the Olympics. The brazen newcomer has broken through the door with five rings.

V. Milou Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Who is V. Milou?

Brandon Valjalo is now atop the pink launch ramp. Brandon undoes his hair knot, leans forward, and shakes his long, bleached, South African mane before looking directly into the camera. Teeth like ivory pearls. The man flashes a lopsided grin and makes a V with his hands.

V. Milou, a French snowboarder, wears an all-white ensemble consisting of a short-sleeved shirt buttoned to the chin, white pants, and white sneakers.

He looks like an industrial painter if not for the designer cut of his clothes, and more like an urban graffiti artist than someone who has painted two coats of magnolia.

U.S. athlete Nyjah Huston is wearing shorts and bobbing his head to the tunes he’s streaming to his Bluetooth earbuds. He surveys the empty blue seats at Ariake Urban Sports Park on one side of the stylized playground’s white concrete steps, railings, and glistening in Tokyo’s 31 degrees.

V. Milou Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Frenchman V. Milou competing in the Men’s Street Skateboarding Final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Even while the topic of whether or not skateboarding belongs on an already overstuffed Olympic schedule will continue, after seeing its debut, it is clear that there is place for some lightheartedness.

Not to seem condescending, but the competitors in this men-only street competition looked as casual as they did during the event.

A self-deprecating, comedic, starfish roll by French surfer V. Milou, who landed an incredible trick but then fell off his board while drifting pleasantly along, drew cries of laughter.

At the peak of his sprint, bronze medalist Jagger Eaton paused, pulled out his phone, and switched the song playing in his headphones as if he were waiting for a bus rather than having a chance at gold.

Last Words

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