Asian Games gold medalist Hinano Kusaki says the ability to listen to her favorite music while competing is one of the most rewarding parts of skateboarding.

The 15-year-old phenom from Japan, ranked third in the world, won the women's park final on Sept. 25 in Hangzhou, China.

After her victory, Kusaki shared her love of the sport and explained how music plays a big part in her success.

Hinano Kusaki of Japan competes in the women's park skateboarding final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 25, 2023. (Kyodo)

"I listen to music not only to relieve tension during a competition but also to make myself believe I can land this trick if I listen to this particular music," Kusaki told reporters.

Kusaki keeps wireless earbuds on from start to finish, like many other athletes competing in so-called urban sports.

She listens to all kinds of music, even "songs that do not suit skateboarding."

She named the rock band One Ok Rock and rap duo Mukade & Inman among her favorite Japanese artists.

"I just pick songs from my folder depending on my feeling for each day," Kusaki said. "Isn't skateboarding great?"

Kusaki also takes joy from the opportunities she has to interact with top skateboarders from around the world.

Skateboarders work together to improve each other's skills and celebrate each other when someone successfully lands a trick, she says.

"I talk with those from the United States and Brazil in competitions, but I didn't really have a chance to communicate with other Asian skateboarders before (this)," Kusaki said.

"I got to do that here at the Asian Games. I hope I've become good friends with them."

Japanese skateboarder Hinano Kusaki (C) celebrates with her gold medal after winning the women's park final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 25, 2023, alongside silver medalist Li Yujuan (L) and bronze medalist Mao Jiasi, both of China. (Kyodo)

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