TOKYO. They cry, they cover their faces with their hands and it is almost expected that, struggling with some adolescent problem, they go to their room slamming the door to come back to the table who knows when. Instead, the two crying girls in Tokyo are heading for the Olympic podium, because the race that brought the Olympic Games into the future has just ended.
Women’s street skateboard: gold medal for the Japanese Momiji Nishiya, thirteen years old, silver for the Brazilian Rayssa Leal, known as “a Fadinha” or the Fairy, even a few months less. Third, a bit matured in the meeting, the other Japanese Funa Nakayama, 16 years old. Youngest overall podium ever in the Olympics, 42 years in total.
Momiji Nishiya is a little girl from Osaka who has been on the table since she was seven, to imitate her brother. Rayssa Leal if she had won she would have become, with her 13 years and 203 days, the youngest Olympic champion in history (the record remains to the American diver Marjorie Gestring, in Berlin 1936 she won in the springboard at 13 years and 267 days): she celebrates the his second place by removing the braces from his teeth for a few minutes. At home he is already a celebrity, with a vast following on social media and an inevitable circuit of sponsors.
But skateboarding, in particular that of women, indeed of girls, is a postmodern sport and the primacy of Gestring could still be short-lived: on August 4, when she will perform in the Park, the other Olympic specialty of this discipline, the great favorite Sky Brown, a Japanese-English competitor here for Great Britain, will be 13 years and 22 days old (she was born on 12 July 2008).
If it wins, it will rewrite history, as it has already done in the commercial field, given that a well-known sportswear company has sponsored it since it was only 8. Half of today’s bronze medalist, Funa Nakayama, who with his 16 years already seems “old” and complains about some mistake that prevented her from winning the gold.
But in reality the big disappointments of today are the Brazilian Pamela Rosa, n.1 in the ranking, and Leticia Bufoni, Neymar’s ex-girlfriend and famous at home also as an influencer, who dreamed of a green-gold hat-trick with the youngest of them, and instead they did not even go to the final in this race so appreciated by the very young. And which presents, for skaters, difficulties similar to those of the road.
On a straight path, you have to overcome walls, walls and benches on a straight path, with the judges evaluating the evolutions and their originality and speed of execution. Far from simple, for those who compete, but for the very young and their superior alertness the task is a little easier. You also fall, for example today it happened to the Fairy Leal, but in the end you can still finish on the podium and dedicate the silver medal “to all my peers in Brazil”. That at that time, due to the time difference (-12 compared to Japan), they were already read because the next morning at 13 there is always school.