Rayssa Leal wins her silver medal at 13. Getty Images
Rayssa Leal won her silver medal at 13. Photo: Getty Images

Rayssa Leal, the Brazilian 13 year-old skater that won silver in Tokyo

A former fairy on a skateboard won the silver medal for Brazil in the debut of skateboarding at the Olympics.


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Skateboarding is one of the sports that debut at Tokyo 2020. The sport, that few years ago was only seen on the streets of big cities, reaches the highest level of the sporting world this year to give a little urban spirit to the games.

The inclusion of the sport in the Tokyo Olympic Games has been controversial, but the truth is that it has filled the event with movement, color, and youth.

The athletes who won the gold and silver medals in the women's final are a testament to the latter, at only 13 years old, Momiji Nishiya won gold for Japan and Rayssa Leal took silver for Brazil.

Both two teenagers shared the podium with another 'veteran', 16-year-old Japanese Funa Nakayama, in what became the youngest podium in Olympic history.

The youth of these athletes is already news by itself, but the Brazilian won all eyes for her popularity on social media.

Rayssa rose to fame when she was just eight years old and famous skateboarder Tony Hawk recorded her doing a heelflip, an aerial skateboarding trick, wearing a blue dress with fairy wings.

The video that went viral turned the little girl into a phenomenon and today, the 13-year-old fairy on a skateboard was crowned the second best in the world.

“I still can't believe it, it seems like it was a historic milestone. Knowing that there were many other people who trained for years to be here, not only for skateboarding, and having managed to bring a medal for Brazil, is very gratifying," Leal told her country's television news after winning the medal.

"Girl power" on skateboard

Beyond the anecdote, the youth in the sport respond to the fact that it is not only new in the Olympics, but also for women.

Veterans such as Leticia Bufoni from Brazil and Annie Guglia from Canada told ESPN that their beginnings in the sport were sad and lonely, but what is happening in Tokyo is a seed for many more women to compete in the 2024 Olympics.

"This is like opening at least one door to, you know, many skaters who are having the conversations with their parents, who want to start skating," said U.S. skater Mariah Duran. "I'm not surprised if there's probably already like 500 girls getting a board today."


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