Brazil did not have dawn this Monday to see one of its sports legends shine in Tokyo 2020, Rayssa Leal, 13, the youngest Brazilian to climb a podium, by conquering silver in skate street, a sport that reached being banned in cities like São Paulo but that became a true national passion.
The “fairy” of skateboarding, as it is known for its conquests in national and international tournaments of the modality incorporated this year by the Olympic Committee, has broken the age and gender barriers, since, heard at school, in the family and in the media that it was a sport for boys or that I was too young to practice it.
“We are proving that skateboarding is not just for children,” she told television after winning silver, on a podium that marks an age milestone in Olympic history: first came the Japanese Momiji Nishiya, also 13 years, five months bigger than the Brazilian, and with bronze another Japanese woman, Funa Nakayama, 16.
Leal hails from Imperatriz, Maranhao, the poorest region in Brazil and her victory also vindicates the practice of skateboarding in the country.
This sport was criminalized in the eighties and banned at that time in São Paulo, where it emerged locally, since its practitioners did not end up on a podium with a medal, but treated as marginals, detained in police stations.
This policy of the right-wing ex-mayor of San Pablo Janio Quadros (former president of Brazil elected who ruled for a few months in 1961) generated a revolt among young people who were going to skate at Ibirapueara Park, on the cement floor of one of the architectural works of Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian icon architect.
It was the skaters and young people in general who pushed the democratic greening, the election of Luiza Erundina as mayor, of the Workers’ Party, who freed the practice of skateboarding and dedicated resources to leisure and sports spaces in the city where the green fight day a day against concrete, the most populated in South America.
Leal kept the country in suspense at dawn: she herself, world runner-up in 2019, eliminated her idols, Brazilians Leticia Bufoni and Pamela Rosa.
“I was her idol when she started skateboarding and now she is my inspiration,” said Bufoni, excited.
Leal’s career, 1.45 tall and 35 kilos, was marked by a video when he was just 7 years old. She was disguised as a fairy and was skating around her neighborhood, jumping obstacles and falling, accompanied by her mother, also present in the Japanese capital.
That video of the “Fadinha” (little fairy) was seen and shared by Tony Hawk, the American who is the greatest skate legend. Hawk has since become a fan of the Brazilian, whom he saw in Tokyo.
All of Brazil vibrated at dawn this Monday with skateboarding in front of the screens for something that happened on the other side of the world, as happened with the 2002 Korea Japan World Championship, defeated by the magic of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and company.
In São Paulo, where everything began with the beating for skateboarding, from the windows of the buildings they celebrated with shouts, as if skateboarding were football in the country of football. Rayssa Leal, the 13-year-old fairy, won another World Cup.
Posted in Telam.