A Brazilian skateboarding sensation that went viral at the age of 7 as she skated with fairy wings and a blue dress is back on the world stage, but this time it’s capturing more than hearts: she wins an Olympic medal.
Rayssa Leal, 13, became one of the youngest athletes to win an Olympic medal after competing in the first women’s street skateboarding event in Tokyo on Sunday.
Her incredible silver medal moment – shared with gold medalist Momiji Nishiya, also 13, and bronze medalist Funa Nakayama, 16 – came six years after a 14 second Vine video of his fall twice before successfully landing a heelflip on a staircase caught the attention of famous American skater Tony Hawk.
“I don’t know but it’s awesome,” Hawk tweeted at the time, sharing the video of what he called a “fairytale heelflip.”
In 2021, Leal doesn’t just shred handrails and crush gender stereotypes in a male-dominated sport, but does so alongside Hawk, who joined her at the Tokyo skate park.
“Six years ago, he introduced me to the world of skateboarding by sharing my video in fairy costume. Today he filmed me at the Olympics, “she posted on Instagram with pictures of him standing next to her.” It’s so amazing I’m living a dream! “
“You exceeded all expectations! Hawk replied. “It was an honor to be involved in a way. And thanks for the clips!
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