Momiji Nishiya And Rayssa Leal: How Two 13-Year-Olds Have Taken The Olympics By A Storm
The next generation’s superstars are shining bright in the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, 13, made history on Monday when she brought home the first women’s skateboarding Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Standing beside her on the Olympic podium was another 13-year-old Brazilian, Rayssa Leal, who earned silver in the event. Japanese skater Funa Nakayama, 16, took bronze.
One day before Nishiya’s victory, 22-year old Yuto Horigame also from Japan won the gold medal in the men’s event, securing Japan’s place as a skateboarding powerhouse.
The women’s skateboarding final was a tremendous moment for these games as the youthful competitors displayed impressive tricks and savage wipeouts on a global stage.
Half of the skaters in the finals were under 18 for both men’s and women’s events, which shows that the sport is slowly and steadily becoming a major attraction among the youth. Under the scorching sun of Tokyo, the youngsters were determined to land their best tricks. They managed to set an atmosphere of excitement and joy in an empty skatepark as hip-hop music set the tone in the background. All the competitors were pretty friendly with each other, Nuakyama and Nishiya were seen chatting while waiting for their turns. Leal would now and again skate close to the onlooker region, where the press and competitors were sitting to praise her high scores.
Skateboard enthusiasts witnessed some big surprises at the Ariake Urban Sports Park as World No. 1, Pamela Rosa, 22, from Brazil was seen as Brazil’s most likely medal hope, but she didn’t even make it to the final. Nishimura, 19, World No.3 who won the world title in June came in 8th.
After winning gold, Nishiya was asked what is her message to all the young skaters. “Skateboarding is fun and interesting, I hope everyone can give it a try,” she told TIME.
“I want to go back to being the little girl I am,” Leal said in Portuguese. “I don’t want to have responsibility. I want to go on being the lively little girl I am for all of Brazil.”
Skating is evolving quickly; the old method of youthful brothers with their own extraordinary privilege had vanished. The Olympics had cemented skating as a women’s society, as well. What’s more, they would be the ones to lead it.