At the age of 7, Rayssa Leal went viral for skateboarding in a fairy princess dress and now, at the age of thirteen, she's won an Olympic medal during the first women's street skateboarding event in Tokyo.
Competing for Brazil, Leal was among a roster of other youthful teenagers who all came out at the top 3 spots for the event's appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The girls included Momiji Nishiya, thirteen from Japan, who won gold, and sixteen-year-old Fauna Nakayama from Japan who won bronze.
But Leal seems to be the most memorable of them all. This is because, before the Olympics, a video of the then 7-year-old went viral on Vine in 2015 landing a heelflip while jumping over a set of stairs after two unsuccessful attempts. She stood out in her fairy princess sparkly blue dress, making the video even more special, especially with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk shared the video with his own fans.
"I got a skateboard as a birthday present when I was 6 and I started riding it around the house," Leal told extreme sports outlet Dew Tour in 2020. "My dad had some friends who were skateboarders and I started riding with them on the street, but my skateboard was too big for me and I didn't have that much strength in my legs yet. But I practiced a lot and I got to a point where I didn't have so much trouble anymore."
And her skill as a skateboarder hasn't stopped as she participated in her first Street League skateboarding world tour event, coming in 3rd, before grabbing the top spot in July of the same year. Impressive right?
The following month, competing in the X Games for the 1st time, she came in 4th place.
But this girl just kept becoming more impressive each time...coming in 2nd during the Street League World Championships in Sao Paulo.
This year, the little champ qualified for the Olympic Games inaugural skateboarding debut, showing the world why she's considered one of the best street skateboarders.
But even though she's unbelievably successful, Leal said that she just wants to have fun.
"[My family doesn't] pressure me to always win and be first, they encourage me to do what I like, which is skateboarding," she also told Dew Tour. "Their support, along with the lack of pressure, allows me to be calmer and more relaxed to have fun all the time, even during tournaments."
When asked by The Washington Post if she feels pressure to medal at the Olympics, Leal kept it level-headed: "I don't want to have responsibility. I want to go on being the lively little girl I am for all of Brazil."
So there's definitely going to be no letting go of the adorable little princess we came to love back in 2015, but she can't help being a roaring success as a skater, can she?