Written by: Allysa Malicdem | Published on: July 28, 2021 at 2:05 PM PHT (GMT+8)
Japan’s rising star takes home the gold!
The Tokyo Olympics 2020 has formally opened at the Olympic Stadium last July 23. During the women’s street skateboarding event on Monday, Japan bagged its another gold with child prodigy Momiji Nishiya, earning the title as the youngest Japanese athlete to score a gold medal in an Olympic tournament.
The 13-year-old junior high school student has already set foot in the world stage. She earned a silver medal at the Summer X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in 2019. She was the runner-up to Aori Nishimura during the world championships held last June.
"I welled up in tears because I was beyond happy," Nishiya remarked after her win.
This year’s games marked the debut of street skateboarding in the international stage. Nishiya is the first female athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in the sporting event.
The official Japanese Twitter account for the Olympic Games posted photos of Nishiya during the event, capturing her smile as she emerged victorious.
Japanese swimmer Kyoko Iwasaki previously set the record for being the youngest athlete to win an Olympic gold medal at the Barcelona Games in 1992. She was 14.
Another from the Japan team, the 16-year-old Funa Nakayama, finished third. Aori Nishimura, a two-time world champion, also qualified for the final round, but failed to secure a spot in the top three due to her failed attempts in the final round.
Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, also at 13, won the silver medal.
"It's not right to think, well you have to study, you can't go skating because skating is for boys," Leal said in an interview. "I think skateboarding is for everyone."
Some reactions online include cheers and congratulations to the winners:
“Can’t wait to see what she does in [the] future.”
“I’m really liking the skateboarding event. The announcers are laid back, and the athletes all look so cute and happy competing in T-shirts.”
“I’ve never seen a sport like this where even competitors cheer for each other when they pull off a trick!”
“Some people think of skateboarders as delinquents, but you can’t say that after seeing Nishiya’s smile.”
The final scores were: Nishiya - 15.26 points, Leal - 14.64 points and Nakayama - 14.49 points.
Japan scored a perfect 2-for-2 in street skateboarding. Yuto Horigome won the gold medal for the men’s category last Sunday.
Japan continues to score medals in various events at the Olympics.