If people thought the Olympics are for the professional athletes, they are wrong. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics witnessed the rise of youngsters, who left a telling impression on the minds of the viewers with their scintillating performances. This Olympics saw youngsters dominate the Games as much as professional adults would do.
1. Kokona Hiraki
At 12 years and 343 days, Kokona won the silver medal in the women’s park skateboarding with the best score of 59.04. She also became the youngest Japanese Olympic medallist ever. A middle-school student, Kokona trains at the Hot Bowl Skate Park in Sapporo. She began skateboarding as a five-year-old in Kutchan. She was influenced by her mother Minako’s fandom towards skateboarding. At 10 years and 11 months, Kokona became the youngest skateboarder to win a medal at the X Games when she won a silver medal in the 2019 X Games in Boise, USA.
2. Sky Brown
The youngest Nike-sponsored athlete in the world took the bronze medal in the women’s park skateboarding with the best score of 56.47 on her final run. At 13 years and 28 days, she also became the youngest Olympic medallist for Great Britain. The British-Japanese skateboarder, who holds advertising deals with Barbie, Claire’s Accessories and Visa apart from one million Instagram followers and a “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors” appearance, was already pictured as the flag-bearer of the young brigade in the Olympics. The X Games 2021 winner took up the sport as a three-year-old under her father’s supervision. She learnt the tricks from YouTube and enrolled in Great Britain’s skateboarding program. Sky now has plans to participate in skateboarding as well as surfing in 2024 Paris Olympics.
3. Rayssa Leal
The Brazilian teenager shot to internet fame in 2015 when skateboarding legend Tony Hawk shared a video of the then seven-year-old heel flipping in a princess costume. The video earned her the nickname ‘Fadinha’ or ‘Little Fairy’. Now in 2021, Hawk was by her side when she won the silver medal in women’s street skateboarding. At 13 years and 204 days, Rayssa is now the youngest medallist in the Olympics history of Brazil. Before Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the World Championships in Rome. She is also a silver medallist in the 2019 World Championships in Sao Paulo and was nominated in action sports category of the Laureus Awards in 2020.
4. Momiji Nishiya
At 13 years and 330 days, Nishiya won the inaugural women’s skateboarding street competition. She was the youngest to win a gold medal in Tokyo and for Japan with a score of 15.26 points on her fifth and final run for the gold. She also became the second youngest champion in Olympics history. Before Olympics, she won a silver medal in the World Championships at Rome.
5. Quan Hongchan
The Chinese diver wowed everyone in the final of the women’s individual 10m platform diving in Tokyo. At 14, Quan received perfect 10 scores from all seven judges for her second and fourth dives in the competition, enough for her to seal the gold medal. Her final winning score of 466.20 broke the previous Olympic record of 447.70. Her final score was 40 points more than her 15-year-old teammate Chen Yuxi’s score, who took the silver medal. Hailing from a farmer’s family in south China’s Guangdong province, she started to train in diving as a seven-year-old. She has now earned a galaxy of fans across the globe.