Brazil’s 13-year-old skating sensation arrives home to bizarre legal surprise

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Rayssa Leal of Brazil won the silver medal in the women’s street skateboarding competition in Tokyo (Icon Sport via Getty Images)
Rayssa Leal of Brazil won the silver medal in the women’s street skateboarding competition in Tokyo (Icon Sport via Getty Images)

A quick-thinking lawyer ensured Brazil’s youngest ever Olympic medallist would not have her success exploited by trademarking her nickname on her behalf.

Rayssa Leal, 13, shot to superstardom in Brazil on Monday when she won the silver medal in the women’s street skateboarding contest.

The youngster is known as Little Fairy in her home country after a video of her skating in a dress with fairy wings went viral when she was aged just seven.

But after her podium-topping performance in Tokyo, a Brazilian lawyer, Flavia Penido, realised an unscrupulous firm might capitalise on her success by trying to sell skateboarding equipment using her Little Fairy nickname.

So shortly after Ms Penido watched Rayssa claim the silver medal in the early hours on Monday morning, she checked with Brazil’s national authorities to see if the Little Fairy name had been trademarked.

When she found out it was still available, she registered the name herself on Rayssa’s behalf.

“Sometimes you have to make quick decisions,” Ms Penido said on Twitter.

“The interest is obviously not economic but to preserve Rayssa’s eventual rights and show the importance of always having marketing and law work in tandem.”

Once the teenager returns to Brazil from Japan Me Penido said she would cede the trademark rights to the skateboarder so she could control her own nickname and ensure nobody else profited from her success. Rayssa’s family has not responded to requests for comment.

The 13-year-old first became famous when skateboarding legend Tony Hawk tweeted a video of her attempting a skating trick while wearing a blue dress and fairy wings.

“I don’t know anything about this but it’s awesome: a fairytale heel flip in Brazil by Rayssa Leal,” the skating icon said, in a video which has now been viewed more than 2.3 million times.

In the video, Rayssa is seen attempting to do the trick twice unsuccessfully, before landing it while jumping over a set of stairs.

According to her official Olympic profile, the video earned her the nickname “Fadinha” or “Little Fairy” because of her costume.

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