Momiji Nishiya, a 13-year-old Japanese skateboarder, made history on Monday by becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s street skating at the Tokyo Olympics.
When the three competitors on an Olympic podium are all 42 years old, you know the kids are doing fine, in the words of English rock band The Who. Nishiya was the youngest on the podium, with Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, also 13, receiving silver and Japan’s Funa Nakayama, 16, taking bronze. It is the youngest individual podium in Olympic history, with an average age of 14 years and 191 days and she continued this pace on the Tokyo Olympics as well.
Marjorie Gestring, the youngest-ever Olympic winner, won the springboard event at the 1936 Berlin Games when she was 13 years 267 days old, just 63 days younger than Nishiya. Yuto Horigome won the men’s category, giving the host nation a complete sweep of golds in the street event of skateboarding.
- More on the youngest skateboarder: Momiji Nishiya
With her fifth and final trick in Monday’s final, Nishiya moved into the gold medal position, becoming one of the youngest Olympic champions ever. Nishiya struggled and missed the landing on her first two routines, but landed her next three to end with a 15.26, bettering Leal’s 14.64, and beaming with joy when her gold medal triumph was confirmed.
“I’m ecstatic to say the least. Nishiya told reporters, “I am really thrilled,” and that her accomplishment had “nothing to do with her age.””
Sky Brown, who will compete in the women’s park skateboarding event on Wednesday, 4 August, will become Britain’s youngest Olympian at the age of 13 years and 28 days. In the same event, Japan’s Kokona Hiraki (12 years and 343 days) is competing. Skateboarding is one of five new sports added to this year’s Games, with the street course simulating an urban setting with tricks executed on benches and rails.
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