The perils of skateboarding are well known to athletes but it is unlikely those from the media tasked with covering the new Olympic sport in Tokyo believed they would be in danger too.
But as a cameraman filming the men’s park event on Thursday found out, it is not just the athletes performing gravity-defying tricks whose safety is on the line, when Australia’s Kieran Woolley unexpectedly veered off course and ploughed into him.
The force of the collision sent the cameraman tumbling backwards onto the concrete towards the end of the first of Woolley’s qualification runs at Ariake Urban Sports Park.
The 17-year-old from Kiama, NSW, was close to completing his run and riding a rail at the top of the skate bowl with seconds remaining when he came off at an awkward angle, and ran straight into the cameraman.
Ever the professional, the cameraman continued to film as he sat on the concrete, while Wooley checked in to see if he was OK and offered a fist bump. A thumbs-up suggested there was no real damage done.
Despite the crash, Woolley scored 82.69 for his run and went on to secure qualification for the final from second place in his heat. Fellow Australian Keegan Palmer later stunned the rest of the field with a dominant performance to win gold, as Woolley finished fifth.