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Skateboarder who won Olympic medal was a viral sensation when she was 7

A young skateboarder who clinched the silver medal during the Tokyo Olympics’ first ever street skateboarding event for women was a viral sensation when she was just seven, it has emerged.

Rayssa Leal, a 13-year-old from Brazil, was among two other teenagers who won the top three spots at the event.

Momiji Nishiya, 13, from Japan, won the gold medal; while 16-year-old Funa Nakayama, also from Japan, won bronze.

Ms Leal is now one of the youngest athletes to win an Olympic medal, alongside Ms Nishiya and Marjorie Gestring, who won the gold model in the women’s diving competition at the 1936 Berlin Games aged 13.

Ms Leal had previously made a name for herself in 2015, after skateboarding legend Tony Hawk shared a Vine video of her performing a heel flip while wearing a blue “fairytale” dress and wings in Brazil.

In the video, Ms Leal is seen attempting to do the trick twice unsuccessfully, before landing it while jumping over a set of stairs. According to her Olympic profile, the video earned her the nickname “Fadinha” or “Little Fairy” because of her costume.

Mr Hawk said at the time: “I don’t know anything about this but it’s awesome: a fairytale heel flip in Brazil by Rayssa Leal.”

The video re-emerged on social media following Ms Leal’s Olympic win at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on Monday, with many praising her determination and success six years on.

One person wrote: “Years of hard work and dedication. Amazing story. Well done Rayssa Leal!”

Another commented on the 2015 video and said: “Not sure what I love more, that she did this at six years old in a dress and fairy wings, that the boys in the video weren’t paying attention while the girls were cheering, or that she has a silver medal at 13!”

Ms Leal told Reuters: “It’s not right to think, well you have to study, you can’t go skating because skating is for boys. I think skating is for everyone.”

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