Alexis Sablone took fourth place representing the United States in the inaugural Olympic Women’s Street Skateboarding competition, proving to her much younger competition that she’s still got a lot left in the tank.
Competing as a 34-year-old in an event mostly populated by teenagers, she finished just 0.92 points shy of the medal podium.
Sablone, who identifies as queer and has designed her own Pride skate shoe, wowed the judges with several tricks that boosted her score in an attempt to overcome a couple of average runs in the middle of the competition.
Afterwards, she revealed to the media that she was able to perform so well at the Olympics because it felt like just another contest.
“I’ve been here, I’ve seen these people—we’ve skated together before,” she said. “And then there’s that part of my brain...like going crazy, thinking like ‘This is history! This is the first Olympics!’”
As a woman in skateboarding, Sablone has been used to blazing a trail and being fueled by doubters. She remarked that she was aware about what her Olympic performance and the event itself meant for representation:
“For a long time, there were way fewer females doing this. It’s taken until now to get enough people to pay attention, to get enough eyes on it, to inspire girls around the world to start skating. So you can get that freak of nature I’d say—you can get someone like [silver medalist] Rayssa [Leal], who is exceptional. It’s wild to see.”
It’s also been wild to see Sablone competing at the highest level for almost two decades. And she’s clearly not done yet.