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At 13, Rayssa Leal is already a global star. The young Brazilian skateboarder is world number two in street. In this newly Olympic discipline, she can dream of winning gold.
Rayssa Leal is only 13 years old but has an already busy career. Since the age of seven, this young Brazilian has been driving the skateboard world into a panic. World number two in street, it is one of the sensations to follow, Monday July 26, during the Tokyo Games.
With more than a million subscribers on her Instagram account, she is one of the darling of this sport which is entering the Olympic world. In full preparation for her entry into the competition, the teenager posted a photo on Saturday showing her with legend Tony Hawk on the street course. “Six years ago, he introduced me to the world of skateboarding by sharing my video where I was disguised as a fairy. Today, he filmed me at the Olympics. It’s all incredible. I’m living a dream. “, she explained in a message.
Born in 2008, the Brazilian was indeed known thanks to a video that went viral published by her mother in which she appeared in a blue dress with fairy wings performing tricks on her skateboard. Since then, the sportswoman who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Imperatriz, a city in northeastern Brazil, has continued her rise and is one of the best skaters on the planet. At age 11, she became the youngest female competitor in the Street League to win a competition. She also finished in 4th place for her first X Games. More recently, she won bronze at the Worlds held in Rome last June.
Brazil, land of skateboarding
It has even happened to him to surpass his idol and compatriot Leticia Bufoni who is also present in Tokyo. Brazil has become in a few years a fabulous playground for this sport. According to a recent study commissioned by the Brazilian Federation, there are 8.5 million skateboarders in the country for some 212 million inhabitants, Musa reports. “Of the 8-18 age group, we are the second sport in Brazil”. And it is especially the girls who occupy the front of the scene, boosted by the skateparks which multiply at high speed.
“The skate fairy” has become a source of inspiration around the world. “It’s good to inspire kids and it’s really cool when they come asking me for a photo,” she told Athena Sports. Even if she already behaves like an adult, Rayssa Leal continues her education: “When I travel, I take my school supplies and my notebook to study”, she explains. “I take the exam when I get home.”
His notoriety also led to upheavals in his family. His mother accompanies him on all his travels and his father, a glazier, had to stop his work to take care of his younger brother.
In the world of skate, other child stars are also talked about. The very young and popular Briton Sky Brown, 13, whose mother is Japanese, is one of the favorites for the gold medal in the park, as are the Japanese Misugu Okamoto, 15, and the German Lilly Stoephasius, 14 years old.