Tokyo and LA Are Both Pioneers in Skateboarding


After taking two podium finishes in international games, young Momiji Nishiya became the first ever female champion of the Olympic Skateboarding Street Games at the age of 13. Raised in Osaka, she started skating under her brother's influence, and is now a globally active pro-skateboarder while enjoying skating with her father and brother on weekends. The youngest Olympic gold medalist in Japanese history, her bright smile is filled with the genuine spirit of enjoying skateboarding and its culture.


                     Below is a short interview with Momiji Nishiya.


The beauty of skateboarding

スケートボードを始めたのは6歳か7歳です。家族でやっててすごい楽しかったのが、続けようと思った理由です。普段学校がある日は、放課後6時ぐらいから滑って、9時頃終わって、寝ます。 休みの日は、お昼ぐらいから夜まで滑ります。練習は大体1人だけど、たまにお兄ちゃんとお父さんも一緒に滑ります。スケボーの魅力は、海外の人たちとも仲良くなれることです。スケーターの挨拶のやり方があって、それを初対面でもみんなするから、すぐ打ち解けられます。英語とか喋らなくても、スケーターの挨拶やジェスチでャーコミュニケーションを取れることが魅力だと思います。

I started skateboarding when I was 6 or 7, and I had a lot of fun doing it with my family, so that's why I decided to continue skating. On school days, I usually start skating at around 6:00 pm after school, finish around 9:00 pm, and sleep. On weekends, I skate from around noon till night. I usually practice by myself, but sometimes my brother and father skate with me. The great thing about skateboarding is that you can make friends with people from other countries. Skaters have ways of greeting each other, and everyone does it even when they first meet, so it's easy to get along. I think the beauty of skateboarding is that although you don't speak English or other languages, you can communicate with skaters by greetings and gestures we use.


What’s the differences in skateboard culture between LA and Japan, and who is your favorite skater?

私のLAイメージは、むっちゃ都会で、スケーターが街中でむっちゃ撮影してそう。LAのスケートカルチャーのいいところは、周りの人がスケートボードを受け入れて、ストリートでも応援している雰囲気があるところです。オリンピックで金メダルをとってからは、たくさんの人からメッセージを送って頂いたり、声を掛けられるようになったので、日本でもスケボーが受け入れられて、普通に街中でプッシュしたり、ストリートで撮影できるようになったらいいのにと思います。好きなスケーターはJenn Sotoです。軽くやるトリックも全部上手いし、スタイルがかっこよくて好き。

I picture LA as a big city, with skaters filming on the streets. A really cool thing about skateboarding culture in LA is that people are accepting skateboarders and supporting them on the streets. Since I won the gold medal at the Olympics, I've been getting messages and calls from many people, so I hope skateboarding will be accepted in Japan too and we will be able to skate  and film on the streets. My favorite skater is Jenn Soto. She skates so well and smooth, I really like her cool skate style.


What would you like to do when you go to LA, and what your goals are for 2028?


When I go to LA, I want to hit nice stairs spots and handrails with right height. By 2028, I want to be on the podium at various games, and I also wanna make my own video parts maybe filmed on the streets in other countries, so I'll do my best!