Rayssa Leal, the Fadinha (fairy, in Portuguese) from skateboard, has made history in world sport. At 13 years old, she has become the youngest Olympic medalist in Brazil, confirming her favoritism in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The athlete won silver in the final of skateboarding, modality street female, where slopes and curbs of the streets are simulated in a circuit. His victory has generated unanimous praise among Brazilian fans in a country affected by deep political polarization.
The end of skateboarding has consolidated the adolescent wave in this discipline, debuting in these Olympic Games: the podium was completed by the Japanese Momiji Nishiya, also 13 years old, who took the gold, and Funa Nakayama, 16 years old, bronze medalist. The Brazilian joy was not greater because the other promise of medals from the country in the category, Pamela Rosa, number one in the world, and Letícia Bufoni, fourth in the ranking, were eliminated in the first round of the competition and were left out of the competition. Grand finale. It was the fairy-girl with a wide smile and a slim body who was in charge of doing magic and giving Brazil a podium, the second metal in that sport; on Saturday, Kelvin Hoefler won silver in skateboarding street male.
More news from Tokyo 2020
“I am very happy, because I have been able to represent all the girls, Pamela and Letícia, who did not qualify, all the girls in the skateboard and from Brazil. Being able to fulfill my dream of being here and winning a medal is very rewarding. My dream and my parents’ dream ”, the young woman born in Imperatriz, in the State of Maranhão, said with emotion, where she suffered her first falls and made her first kickflips with her characteristic fairy costume. Before her debut, she wanted to pay tribute to her predecessors: “There is no future without a past. If I’m here today it’s because skateboard Brazilian has history. If I am here today, next to 11 other athletes, it is for all skaters of the old school that made our sport come this far ”.
Despite his young age, Rayssa Leal seemed not to feel the pressure of playing the Games. From the start of the first heat at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, always with a smile on his lips, he showed confidence in his maneuvers and took third place in the general classification for the final. Alternating moments of total concentration with dances and jokes between turns, the young woman surpassed veterans such as Alexis Sablone, from the United States and 34 years old, and the Japanese Aori Nishimura, who at 19 years is the current champion of the category in the X Games, the most famous extreme sports contest in the world. The only moment of sadness for the young woman came with the elimination of her friend Letícia Bufoni, of whom Rayssa is a declared fan.
Since the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the young woman from Maranhão has achieved unanimous support among Brazilian fans, which represents a novelty among the already established disciplines in which Brazil opts for medals, such as soccer, volleyball and soccer. judo. Being only 13 years old, she was accompanied by her mother, Lilian, who was allowed to travel with her despite the sanitary restrictions of the pandemic. Rayssa Leal, a phenomenon of this sport and described by many as a genius in his category, did not have a normal childhood: last year, he told EL PAÍS that he saw the skate cLike a “responsible game”. A responsibility that she faces with freshness and good humor, perceptible in competitions, which she usually goes to with her parents, Haroldo and Lilian, who manage her career.
Among those who have flattered her are famous such as actress Bruna Marquezine, rapper Emicida, even politicians of different stripes such as former candidate for the presidency Marina Silva, a leftist, or supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro such as federal deputy Hélio Lopes. Everyone celebrates the Rayssa phenomenon and its conquest on the Internet. In the world of sports, the achievement was also widely celebrated.
Rayssa Leal’s victory was praised by Pelé, who congratulated her by comparing her career to a fairy tale. Bob Burnquist, one of the main names in this sport in Brazil and former president of the Brazilian Skate Confederation, also celebrated it on social networks: “The little giant Rayssa has been silver in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games! Congratulations, Rayssa! I’m proud of you!”. Letícia Bufoni, already eliminated, encouraged her pupil from the stands and vibrated with the feat: “A pride that does not fit in the chest! Thanks for the inspiration. You are giant! ”. The skater Australian Shane O’Neill was also thrilled with Rayssa’s result. “Amazing! Congratulations on second place in the Olympics! I am eager to see your evolution and your plans for the future! Thanks for the inspiration ”, he published, writing the last sentence in Portuguese. The women’s soccer team released a video showing the entire team watching the Fadinha final and celebrating their medal. Daniel Alves and Paulinho, from the men’s team, also applauded the young woman’s achievement, and even the Manchester City profile congratulated Rayssa.
Before being a medalist, the young woman already received the support of veteran athletes. Days before contesting the final, she was praised by a world legend of the skateboard, the American Tony Hawk, who walked by her side on the track during training and wanted to record and publish on his social networks part of the movements and maneuvers of the Brazilian in the Olympic venue. “Thank you for the images from the other day,” the giant with the skateboard thanked him afterwards, humbly.
In addition to being passionate about skateboarding As a female, Hawk helped spread Rayssa’s work a few years ago by sharing a video of her, when she was seven, doing stunts and dressed in a blue fairy costume in her hometown. In the images, now classic and that went viral, he fails in his first two attempts to heelflip on a small ladder and ends on the ground. On the third, it comes out. Six years later, the fairy shows its evolution and flies higher: “If a 13-year-old girl is going to represent Brazil today, it is thanks to women skaters that inspire me, that teach me that a girl can do everything, ”she said.
Subscribe here to our special newsletter about the Tokyo Games