Rayssa Leal is the newest Brazilian Olympic medalist. And the Olympic runner-up for Brazil still managed two incredible feats with the award: bringing another medal to Brazil in the debuting modality of the Skate Street — Kelvin Hoefler got the first Brazilian medal in the same modality hours earlier on Sunday. And, at 13 years and 203 days, “Fadinha” is the youngest Brazilian to climb an Olympic podium in history.
In addition to Rayssa, Leticia Bufoni (9th) and Pâmela Rosa (10th) also represented Brazil in skateboarding last Sunday and were very close to the 8 finalists. In addition to winning the Games, Rayssa still accumulates more than 3 million followers on Instagram. Still on the podium, Rayssa was informed that she had surpassed 2 million followers and was surprised.
“What is this, folks?” he said, frightened, with the silver medal on his chest. A few hours later, Rayssa has accumulated 3.5 million followers on the network.
But why “Fairy”? Rayssa Leal’s nickname impresses as much as her young one, but it has a concrete – and viral – story behind that name. In 2015, still at age 7, Rayssa managed to viralize a video of her skateboarding. Besides, again, a young age, the video exploded on the internet because Rayssa was literally dressed as a fairy while sending some heelflips (traditional skate maneuver).
The fact quickly put a spotlight on Rayssa. The then only 7-year-old girl gained sudden fame and got to know her Brazilian sports idol, Letícia Bufoni — now Rayssa’s partner in the Brazilian Olympic team, thanks to a large exposure in the Brazilian media, even starring in TV articles in the most important sports programs in the country.
But, in addition to going viral in Brazil, the video of Rayssa, the new “fairy”, was shared by none other than Tony Hawk, one of the greatest legends in skateboarding history. At the time, still unknown, Rayssa caught the attention of the veteran, who just wrote “I don’t know anything about this, but I know it’s amazing”.
– Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) September 8, 2015
Viral success with video propelled Rayssa into the sports world for good. As early as 10 years old, the girl already had sponsors and helped her family with the income that came from the sport. And, even at the age of 11, the “fairy” would win her first medal in an international tournament.
Two years later, then, “Fadinha” arrived at the Olympics with the mission of representing Brazil (even though she was so young) in a debut sport at the Games. And the girl didn’t let it go.
To take advantage of the athlete’s momentum, Nike presents the film “New Fairies”, an advertising piece that brings Rayssa as the protagonist and should serve as an inspiration for other girls in the sport.
“Rayssa’s journey is an inspiration to all girls around the world. It shows that it is possible to be a child and believe in fairy tales, but at the same time have courage and enter a space that was not considered for girls before.”, says Gustavo Viana, Marketing Director at FISIA, official Nike distributor in Brazil.