Meet 13-year-old Pan Am Games gold medal-winning skateboarder Fay DeFazio Ebert
Ebert's incredible triumph unfolded in the women's skateboard park showdown, and as the sun beamed its approval upon the Urban Sports Esplanade of the National Stadium, the scene was ripe for a jaw-dropping spectacle of pure skill and unwavering resolve.
Fay Ebert’s defining moment arrived during the second of her three runs in the competition. As she flawlessly executed an array of tricks and manoeuvres, the judges couldn’t help but award her an astonishing score of 84.66 points.
“I was feeling really confident, and I was taking one trick at a time. And then, I was thinking about my breathing a lot because I didn’t want to get tired,” she explains. "So when I had the chance when I wasn’t doing my tricks it was like a big inhale and then exhale. And then I would do my trick. And I really focused on each trick. I popped out of the bowl. And I was like, wow, like, I felt really good. The adrenaline. And I gave a bunch of people hugs.”
However, at that moment, uncertainty clouded her mind about her victory. Rather than succumbing to stress, she redirected her focus towards fervently cheering on the sole competitor who could potentially outshine her – Brazil's formidable Raicca Ventura.
“It was her last run, and she was in fourth at the time because she didn’t land because she didn’t land her two other runs,” Ebert says. “So, I said okay, please, I really want her to land her run. And she was in the bowl. And I saw I was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s doing it, she’s committed. She popped out of the bowl and I gave her a hug and was like, ‘yes, you did it!'”
But the day belonged to Fay.
Ventura secured the silver medal with an impressive score of 82.54 points. American skateboarder Bryce Wettstein, earning a score of 79.95 points, managed to clinch the bronze medal, rounding out the podium.
“I was like, what? I literally thought she’s (Ventura) gonna win. It was so good. So good.,” she says. “And then I turned to Sean (coach Sean Hayes) and he said you did it! Sean had a flag from his grandfather, and I wrapped it around myself. It was really cool.”
Ebert's victory in the women's park competition notched Canada's fifth gold medal in the Pan American Games up to that juncture. The Canadian contingent had already left an indelible imprint, bagging an impressive four gold medals on the preceding day, showcasing the extraordinary prowess of its athletes. Furthermore, alongside these coveted gold medals, Canada also garnered a pair of silver and three bronze medals, solidifying the nation's remarkable success in the games.
Fay De Fazio Ebert’s victory is a testament to her dedication, hard work, and passion for skateboarding. Her remarkable achievement not only made her the youngest gold medallist on the Canadian team but also solidified her status as a rising star in the world of skateboarding. Ebert’s future in the sport looks incredibly promising, and her incredible win at the Pan American Games will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and a source of pride for Canada.
Ebert’s start in skateboarding dates back five years or so when she signed up for a skateboarding camp on March Break.
“My Dad was looking, he was said, okay, you want to try skateboarding?” Ebert says. “And I said sure, and just went to the lesson. But we bought a board right after the lessons and I was like, I love this.”
She skated in her first contest very early in her career in 2019, and opened her eyes to just how big skateboarding is around the world, and how tough the competition. But one thing was certain, she loves a good contest.
“I guess I just went for experience because I really wasn’t ready or that good to skate in a world contest yet. But I saw right away and opened my eyes to what’s out there,” she says. “I was was getting really good, really quickly in Toronto. But I was like, oh, I didn’t know there’s actually a whole other world. But I loved doing the contest, and I still love doing contests. That feeling, the adrenaline. But not, oh, I just want this to be over. More like I want to experience it again. You know?”
Ebert has a pair of pet ducks residing at her family home in Toronto, and she can often be seen skating with one of their feathers gracing her helmet.
“The feather is my helmet is for luck. And I’ve been doing it for a while now,” she says. “Okay. And yeah, I’ve been wearing. I don’t know if it’s superstition, but it’s kind of lucky.”
The 13-year-old skateboarder from Toronto has left an indelible mark on the world of sports, especially in the skateboarding community here in the city. And could be just a sign of things to come as the young Toronto shredder eyes the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris next year.