The ramp at the Cebama school, where Rayssa Leal studies, was once a training track for the medalist in Tokyo. When she was allowed to take her skateboard to classes, the athlete never missed an opportunity to practice on the improvised obstacle.
Laughing, Ana Cláudia Almeida Silva, principal of the school in Imperatriz, a city in the interior from Maranhão, remembers when Rayssa descended down the ramp on her skateboard and everyone was dumbfounded.
Fadinha (Fairy), as she is known, is in the ninth year of elementary school and, according to the principal, she has good academic performance.
At age 13, Rayssa has collected many awards; but when she gets home, she likes playing video games, football and playing with friends.
Rayssa became an internet phenomenon in 2015, when a video in which she appears dressed as a fairy performing skate tricks was shared on the networks by skater Tony Hawk.
Six years later, the girl who trained without structure and wanted to be a professional athlete has won a medal in a modality that debuted in the Olympic programme this year.
Rayssa will return to Imperatriz on Wednesday, and the city will welcome her with open arms.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon
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