Soaring to new heights

China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-02 11:25
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Brazilian skateboarder Dora Varella says the sport's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 has given the sport a massive boost in her native country. [Photo/Agencies]

Women's skateboarding booming in Brazil thanks to success of teenage trailblazer at Tokyo Olympics

When she saw 13-year-old Brazilian Rayssa Leal win silver in the first-ever street skateboarding competition at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Giovanna Alves Farias only had one wish: to start flying around a skatepark herself.

"I nearly cried. Seeing a 13-year-old girl like me win a medal was so unexpected!" Giovanna told AFP. "Before the Games, I was already interested in skateboarding, but after seeing that, I told my dad: 'Let's go!'"

Leal's success is fueling a boom in skateboarding-long a sport dominated by men-among women and girls in Brazil, who see themselves soaring to new heights, maybe even at the Olympics.

Right after the Olympics ended in Tokyo, Giovanna started to test out her abilities at a park in Sao Bernardo do Campo, near the megacity of Sao Paulo.

Ana Clara Agostinni, who is only 12, had already been working on her skateboarding tricks for some time, but the frenzy around Leal-known as the "Little Fairy"-kick-started her desire to put her skills to the test in competition.

"I am thinking about what it would be like to take part in the Olympics, and I am training," she said.

Clad in her helmet and wrist guards, Ana Clara admits she is also looking for the adrenaline rush that hurling herself off obstacles in the park gives her.

"I love the feeling of going fast and going higher and higher, so I get more confident and try some new tricks," she says.

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