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13-Year-Old Nishiya Momiji Among Youngest Ever Olympic Gold Medalists

Nishiya Momiji youngest olympian
Skateboarder Nishiya Momiji is one of the youngest Olympians. Credit: Japan_Olympic / Twitter

Momiji Nishiya from Japan made history on Monday by winning the first-ever gold Olympic medal in the women’s category of street skateboarding.

However, Momiji will be remembered for something else too.

Incredibly, she is only 13 years of age!

The Japanese champion is only two months older than the youngest-ever woman to win a medal in the Olympics.

US diver Marjorie Gestring was just 13 years and 267 days old when she managed to earn a gold medal for the States in Berlin in 1936.

The young Japanese athlete was quite unfortunate as she stumbled and did not manage to land properly on her first two tricks during the competition.

However, her third and final trick was exceptionally skillful, which gave her the chance to finish with a score of 15.26.

Such a high score was enough to top the tally of 14.64 that was achieved by Rayssa Leal from Brazil, who finished second and earned the silver medal.

Amazingly, however, Leal is also just 13 years of age.

The bronze medal was taken by another Japanese athlete, 16-year-old Nakayama Funa.

Who is Nishiya Momiji?

Momiji was born on August 30, 2007, making her the second-youngest gold medalist in the history of the Olympic Games of the modern era.

Before the Olympics, Nishiya had competed at the 2019 Summer X Games in the women’s street event where she scored 90.00 and won a silver medal.

The X Games are an annual extreme sports event hosted, produced, and broadcast by the American sports network ESPN.

Nishiya also competed at the 2021 Street Skateboarding World Championships where she scored 14.17 and won the silver medal. The event took place in Rome, Italy, from May 30 to June 6, 2021.

As of June 2021, Nishiya was ranked fifth in the Olympic World Skateboarding rankings and qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Marjorie Gestring: The Youngest Olympian Before Momiji Nishiya

Momiji Nishiya
The American Olympic champion Marjorie Gestring, at school on October 30, 1936. – Public Domain

Gestring was a competitive springboard diver from the United States.

At the age of 13 years and 268 days, she won the gold medal in 3-meter springboard diving at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, making her the youngest person ever to win an Olympic gold medal in the history of the modern Olympics.

Gestring won her first major title at the Amateur Athletic Union meeting of Chicago in 1936, a few months before the Olympic Games that were held in Nazi Germany.

In the tryouts for the 1936 Summer Olympics for the United States team, she placed second behind Katherine Rawls in qualifying in the 3-meter springboard event; however, she was the one to win the gold medal in the Games.

Her final dive was the one that won her the medal, and her rival Rawls, who had already recognized that the dive had earned Gestring the gold medal instead of her, greeted Gestring as she left the pool.

The winning score for the young athlete was 89.27, while Rawls’ score was 88.35.

Gestring died on April 20, 1992, at the age of 70.

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