It’s not every day that gold, silver and bronze go to athletes who might still have curfews.
But all the same, women’s street skateboarding was dominated by three rather young women this past weekend at the Tokyo Olympics — three teenagers, to be exact.
Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, just 13 years old, took home the gold, making her one of the youngest athletes to ever claim that prize in any event. Marjorie Gestring, a springboard diver from the United States, is still the youngest after earning her medal in 1936. (She was also 13 at the time, but further from her 14th birthday than Nishiya is presently.)
“I welled up in tears because I was beyond happy,” Nishiya said moments after winning the event, which debuted at this year’s summer games.
The silver medal also went to a 13-year-old: Rayssa Leal of Brazil. And rounding out the podium was Funa Nakayama, also of Japan, earning her bronze medal at the ripe old age of … 16.
Both Nishiya and Leal are the youngest medalists from their respective countries. And for Leal, it’s a win for gender equality, as well as for young athletes.
“It’s not right to think, well you have to study, you can’t go skating because skating is for boys,” Leal told Reuters. “I think skateboarding is for everyone.”