13-year-old NISHIYA Momiji wins first-ever women's street skateboarding gold 

Japanese athletes have now won gold in both the women's and men's street skateboarding competitions, as the sport makes an unforgettable impression on the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The future is now.

In the inaugural Olympics street skateboarding competition, two of the youngest competitors at the Olympic Games won the gold and silver. The gold medallist, NISHIYA Momiji, wrote her name into the history books with a score of 15.26. Her final three runs (4.15, 4.66 and 3.43) were enough to secure top spot on the podium, as she beat Brazil's Rayssa Leal, also 13, and 16-year-old NAKAYAMA Funa to gold in what is believed to be the youngest Olympic podium ever.

Nishiya, who won a silver medal at the 2021 world championships in Rome, has now secured the ultimate prize in sport after her unique blend of trickery, skill and consistency saw her triumph in a tense final that went all the way down to the final run.

One of the reasons people were so thrilled about skateboarding being included on the Olympic programme was the youthful excitement it would bring to the Games. Now with 13-year-old gold and silver medallists, that youth has proven its ability to shine in ways few could have predicted on the greatest sporting stage of all.

Rayssa Leal, who is not only Brazil's youngest-ever medallist but also Olympian, won silver with a score of 14.64 with Nakayama the bronze medallist with 14.49. But the day belongs to Nishiya, whose name goes down in the record books as the first female skateboarder to strike gold at an Olympics and the second skateboarder, after men's winner HORIGOME Yuto's heroics yesterday, to win gold in the sport for Japan.

Young stars create history on skateboarding Olympic debut

"I'm so happy to win my first Olympics as one of the youngest competitors"

After her triumph, an ecstatic Nishiya spoke about the joy she felt at winning the gold medal.

“I’m so happy to win the Olympics in Japan, and I’m so happy to win my first Olympics as one of the youngest competitors,” she said, before explaining how her initial jitters drifted away as the competition began: “It’s like other competitions. I was nervous in the first run, but I wasn’t after that.”

She also spoke about her hopes for the future of skateboarding, still in its relative infancy as a competitive sport, saying: “Skateboarding is fun and interesting to do, so I want everyone to try skateboarding.”

And when asked about her goals for the future, the youngster wasn't shy with her answer:

“I want to be the famous one who everyone in the world knows. I want to win at Paris 2024 too.”

Leal, who became the youngest Olympic medallist since 1936, looked forward to the bright future she has in front of her. "I feel very happy. I made history at 13 years old. I hope I can be at many other Olympic Games."

She can also anticipate a happy homecoming in Brazil as her proud family awaits her: “I was able to realise my dream and my father’s dream," she said.

"I just had a lot of fun and did all I could do. I’m really touched, really emotional. It’s been a dream of mine to be here and have a medal around my neck, to make Brazil proud, and that’s very satisfying for me.

"All the effort that my mum and dad put in to get me here, and now I’m here and I can tell them that everything went right and I’m just super happy.”

Nishiya secures historic double for Olympic hosts

While the victory of Nishiya will dominate the day's headlines, Horigome, the Japanese winner of yesterday's men's street skateboarding final, can claim an equally important slice of history as the sport's first-ever Olympic champion.

After beating formidable competition to gold, including global superstar and pre-tournament favourite Nyjah Huston, the 22-year-old Horigome expressed his excitement about the lasting influence his performances will have on the sport.

"I am very happy if I could convey something cool and fun of skateboarding through my performance in the Olympic Games," he said.

"Through this Olympics, not only skateboard fans but also people who have not known skateboarding feel the fun of skateboarding I suppose. This is valuable for me."

And with the park skateboarding competition still to come, with the women up first on 4 August before the men follow a day later, the world can look forward to more age-defying performances, as trailblazers such as 46-year-old Rune "The Danish Destroyer" Glifberg join phenomenons like Great Britain's youngest-ever Summer Olympian Sky Brown (13) on the Tokyo 2020 skate parks.

One thing's for certain: you won't want to miss a trick.


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