Nishiya won the gold medal on Monday in the women’s street competition, which debuted in Tokyo for the very first time. This sealed his country’s fate as the current dominant force in skateboarding, following Yuto Horigome’s victory in the men’s competition the day before.
“I broke down in tears because I was more than happy,” Nishiya said after her victory, which took place in a nearly empty sports park.
Nishiya pulled off her last three tricks and scored big to beat Rayssa Leal of Brazil, also just 13. More than half of the women in the final competition were teenagers – Funa Nakayama of Japan, who won the bronze medal , is the oldest medalist at 16.
Nishiya and Leal are now the youngest medalists in their country.
“It’s not good to think, well you have to study, you can’t go skating because skating is for boys only,” Leal told Reuters. “I think skateboarding is for everyone. ”
The youngest gold medalist of all time was Marjorie Gestring, who dominated the women’s diving competition at the 1936 Berlin Games at the age of 13 years and 268 days. Nishiya is approaching her 14th birthday.
“I want more rivals which will make skating more fun,” said Nakayama.
Many skaters shared a similar sentiment: they want girls to see that everyone can skate.
“For a long time there were a lot fewer women doing this,” Alexis Sablone of Team USA, who placed fourth, told Reuters. “It’s taken so far to get enough people to pay attention to it, to have enough eyes on it, to inspire more girls around the world to start skating. ”