Misugu Okamoto, a 15-year-old skater from central Japan, reached the final of skate park this Wednesday in the lead, but a mistake in an important maneuver pushed it to fourth place.
Devastated, Okamoto crouched at the bottom of the track, putting her hands on her helmet.
But instead of the usual scene in which a coach or family member consoles the athlete, what was seen was Okamoto being immediately surrounded by rivals from Japan, Australia and Brazil.
The girls slapped him on the back and lifted Okamoto on his shoulders, a gesture so spontaneous and tender that it immediately touched social media viewers.
“All athletes are gold medal angels,” wrote a Japanese Twitter user, and another identified as @Memikaru1203 on the platform said, “You can tell they really respect each other. I’m very impressed, and I hope to learn from that. “.
“You are all winners,” replied other users.
Unexpected camaraderie between competitors isn’t necessarily rare at the Olympics, but it’s particularly noticeable during Tokyo 2020, in which athletes talk openly about their mental health issues.
Previously, Okamoto admitted to being especially nervous at her first Olympics. Urged more than once by reporters to talk about her rivals’ support, she had tears in her eyes and just said “I’m grateful”.