Japanese Momiji Nishiya, 13, clinched the Olympic title in the women’s street skateboarding competition on Monday, shedding tears of happiness after nailing her final trick and becoming the country’s youngest gold medal winner.
On the Olympic podium with her, two other teenage girls -13 and 16 – stood wearing silver and bronze medals around their necks, rewards for landing tricks most kids their age only get to see on Instagram.
The silver went to Rayssa Leal – Brazil’s second silver in skateboarding after Kelvin Hoefler finished second on Sunday in the men’s event, with Funa Nakayama of Japan taking bronze.
“I welled up in tears because I was beyond happy,” Nishiya said, describing the moment when she realised she had won gold. Though Nishiya said she was “stressed out” after initially stumbling and missing key landings on her first two tricks, she landed her final three, earning 4.66 on her fourth, bringing her total above Brazilian prodigy Leal.
In a surprise twist, Nishiya’s team-mate, Aori Nishimura, 19, struggled after repeatedly stumbling in the finals and coming last. Bronze medalist Nakayama, who used to take the overnight bus to Tokyo from Toyama in central Japan just to practice skateboarding, said she hoped the Japanese skateboarders’ successes would encourage more young women to take up the sport. “I want more rivals, which will make skating more fun,” she said.