Nishiya, a 13-year-old Japanese skateboarder, is the first female Olympic champion.


Nishiya, a 13-year-old Japanese skateboarder, is the first female Olympic champion.

Momiji Nishiya of Japan became one of the youngest Olympic champions when she won the inaugural women’s skateboarding gold on Monday at the age of 13 years and 330 days.

Nishiya finished ahead of Rayssa Leal of Brazil, who, at 13 years and 203 days, might have become the world’s youngest individual Olympic champion, and Funa Nakayama of Japan, who was 16 at the time.

In skateboarding’s Olympic debut, Nishiya starred in the tricks component, scoring 15.26 to give the hosts a clean sweep of the street discipline.

Her performance was similar to that of her Japan teammate Yuto Horigome, who won the men’s title on Sunday with a spectacular sequence of routines.

“I’m overjoyed to be the youngest (Japanese gold medalist) at my first Olympic Games… After receiving her medal, Nishiya told reporters, “Tears welled up in my eyes.”

Skaters have two 45-second runs on the apparatus and five chances to do a one-off trick. Their ultimate total is made up of their top four scores out of a possible seven.

“I was anxious on the first run, but not later,” Nishiya said, adding that she hopes to win a second gold medal at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

But first, she’ll “go dine at a beef BBQ restaurant” to celebrate her victory.

Skateboarding is one of four new sports debuting in Tokyo, alongside surfing, sport climbing, and karate, in an effort to appeal to a younger audience.

Marjorie Gestring of the United States is still the youngest individual Olympic champion, having won the 3m springboard at the 1936 Berlin Games at the age of 13 years and 268 days.

Margielyn Didal, 22, of the Philippines, was a finalist but said competing in Tokyo was a “really, really significant achievement” for her.

Didal debuted on the scene in 2018 with an Asian Games gold after starting skateboarding a decade earlier on the streets of Cebu City.

Didal said she’d phone her parents, a carpenter and a street seller, to find out what they thought.

She told reporters, “I know they’re proud of me.”


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