The Girl Who Went Viral for Skateboarding in a Fairy Costume at Age 7 Is Now an Olympic Medalist
Did we mention she's still just 13 years old?
The Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, and that means for the very first time, medals are being handed out to the most talented skateboarders from all over the world—including to one athlete who’s more accustomed to skating in a pair of wings. On Monday, 13-year-old Rayssa Leal won a silver medal in street skating for Brazil at the Olympics, and seeing where she got her start is all the more special.
You might recognize Leal from Vine, where she went viral for skating in a fairy costume at just 7 years old.
She was tiny at the time, of course, but obviously very talented—and most importantly, she wasn’t afraid to take some pretty hard falls. It seems like that kind of perseverance totally paid off, because here she is less than six years later, an Olympic medalist.
Leal’s video was so impressive, in fact, that it caught the attention of skateboarding powerhouse Tony Hawk, who shared it and put her on a path toward greatness. The talented pair came full circle at the Olympics in Tokyo, where Hawk spent time on a board alongside Leal. He commented on her video from over the weekend, writing, “You have exceeded all expectations! It’s been an honor to be involved in some small way. And thanks for the clips!”
Earlier this week, the Olympics also shouted her out on Twitter, sharing a “how it started/how it’s going” meme, comparing photos of Leal as a fairy vs. what she looks like all suited up to compete.
Later, they updated their tweet to show her proudly wearing her silver medal with the biggest smile on her face. Wonder if she knew back when she was viral—at a time when street skating wasn’t even an Olympic event—that this moment could be in her future?
At the Olympics, Leal was only beat out by a fellow 13-year-old: Momiji Nishiya from Japan, who took home the gold.
Leal’s win is definitely proof that dreams can come true if we work for them…or if we’re willing to get out there in our fairy costumes and just practice.