Astonishing gold medal win from 13-year-old

2 months ago 14
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You've heard of sporting prodigies, but how many sports are dominated - at the highest level - by those that have just become teenagers?

It was an incredible day in Tokyo today when women's skateboarding not only made its Olympic debut, but a 13-year-old claimed the gold medal.

A 13-year-old!

And who won silver? Another 13-year-old!

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Momiji Nishiya (Getty)

Triumphant Japanese skater Momiji Nishiya was joined on the podium by Brazilian Rayssa Leal, while 16-year-old Funa Nakayama from Japan claimed bronze.

At 13 years and 360 days old, Nishiya's win makes her the fourth youngest gold medallist in Olympic history. She sits behind only Marjorie Gestring (1936, USA, diving - 13 years and 268 days), Klaus Zerta (1960, Germany, rowing cox - 13 years and 283 days) and Fu Mingxia (1992, China, diving - 13 years and 345 days) in the record books.

Nishiya's victory comes after another Japanese skater, Yuto Horigome, yesterday won the first-ever skateboarding competition at the Olympic Games, taking gold in the men's street category in the city where he learned to skate as a kid.

In the women's street event, Nishiya's score of 15.26 was enough to edge out Leal (14.64) and Nakayama (14.49).

It was a tense finale, with Leal starting her last run and needing a big trick to get past Nishiya.

But she tumbled, meaning a no-score, and resulting in Nakayama being the only competitor with a chance to pip Nishiya after she improved her score in her final run.

But with the pressure right on, she too fell to ensure gold for Nishiya.

Japan's Momiji Nishiya during the women's street final in Tokyo. (PA Images via Getty Images)

After decades in the shadows of men's skateboarding, the future for the sport's daring, trailblazing women suddenly looked brighter than ever in Tokyo.

The event was celebrated as a win for women by many of the 20 competitors.

The field included Leticia Bufoni of Brazil, whose board was snapped in two by her dad when she was a kid to try to stop her from skating. There was a Canadian, Annie Guglia, who didn't see any other girls skate during her first two years on her board.

And there were plenty of others for whom the Olympic competition felt like a light at the end of a long tunnel.

"It's going to change the whole game," US skater Mariah Duran said.

"This is like opening at least one door to, you know, many skaters who are having the conversations with their parents, who want to start skating.

"I'm not surprised if there's probably already like 500 girls getting a board today."

- additional reporting by AP

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