Skateboarding star Rayssa Leal opens up on mental health: “Everything happened very fast”

Change is work skateboarder Reysa Leal understood better than most.

She was just 13 when she won silver during the inaugural women’s street competition in Tokyo 2020, growth in the literal sense will always be inevitable. But it’s the growth she’s encountered in other ways that the 15-year-old has had to adapt to.

He sits for an interview with as the brilliant Emirates sun begins to set on the eve of 2022 World Street Skateboarding Championships in 2023, the Brazilian woman paused to reflect when asked about the life she once knew and the life she now knows.

“The difference between the Raisa Olympics two years ago and today is that I have grown up,” she says simply.

“Now I am stronger, both physically and mentally.” I believe I am much more ambitious now. I want to get on the podium, I want to go first – I know I can do it.

“I’ve also changed some of my tricks,” she adds. Now I have a lot of hard tricks.”

Raysa Leal: Using a sports psychologist to deal with her fears

Few would deny Leal’s growing hunger when it comes to getting results.

Towards the end of last year she took it Street League Skateboarding Seriesgoing unbeaten on all three stops on the tour before winning the coveted crown in front of a raucous home crowd in Rio de Janeiro.

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It was a display of complete dominance, but for Leal, it meant more than just that.

More than a year ago, the young Brazilian started watching a sports psychologist to help her overcome the mental barriers that were beginning to take hold, and it’s a decision she shares with pride and gratitude in equal measure:

“That was really important to me. I was so scared of competitions, I always thought “but what if I don’t do well?” I was afraid of obstacles, of being too high. I know I can go for it but my mind would be like “don’t try”.

“My psychologist is helping me unblock it and thank God it’s going really well.” We have been together for almost a year and it was one of the best things that happened to me as an athlete.

“I’m still super young and everything has happened so fast in my life. “Her help was essential for me.”

Raisa Leal: Following in the footsteps of Letizia Buffoni

Another distinction for Leal since the Games in Japan imposes itself on the mantle a role model.

From the day she went viral as a seven-year-old Fadinha do Skate (skateboard fairy) po Tony Hawk shared a video of her kicking the stairs, the Brazilian met the spotlight. But when skaters and non-skaters cite the Brazilian as an inspiration, it surprises her:

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“I always say that Letizia (Buffoni) she has always been an inspiration to me since I was young, and she still is as a person and as an athlete. And now I’m always really happy when little girls come up to me and tell me they started riding because of me. That they saw me, liked me and asked their parents to let me skateboard.

“I’m really happy to be an inspiration, not only to people my age, but also to people older than me.

“Everyone who is here with me also inspires me to continue.” Filipe (Motta), Marina (Gabriela)and many others who are with me every day, including my brother.”

Given the scrutiny that comes with being someone others look up to, Leal will find it easy to let their expectations weigh her down. The Brazilian, however, insists that is not the case.

Finding joy in skateboarding is what allows her to be her best self, and with the support of those around her, it’s something she can continue to do:

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“I’m just having fun.” Skateboarding is something I love. “If it was up to me, I would never stop skateboarding,” says Leal.

“I have help from my parents and my staff, they are always there for me. I know that if I need anything, they will be there to help me. So we’re all working on it. The more fun I have, the less pressure I feel. “When I’m free, naturally on my skateboard, that’s when I feel at home.”

Watch Live: Reysa Leal at the 2022 World Street Skateboarding Championships in 2023

With her impressive run of recent results, Leal arrives at Aljada Skatepark in Sharjah as one of the favorites to win the women’s street world title. But the challenge before the reigning Olympic silver medalist will not be easy with his colleagues on the podium at Tokyo 2020. Nishia Momiji and Nakayama Funa also in the field of Paris 2024 qualifiers.

The Brazilian’s journey to the 2022 World Skateboarding Championships in 2022 will be available to watch on the Olympic Channel via with live coverage beginning with the semifinals on Saturday, February 4.

You can find all the latest on your favorite skateboarders, including news, interviews and updates from Sharjah, at


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