SANTIAGO : Ask the average 13-year-old what they did at the weekend and they might say hung out with friends, went to the movies or went shopping.
Ask Fay De Fazio Ebert and the Canadian teenager will tell you she went to Chile, took part in the Pan American Games opening ceremony on Friday and won a gold medal in the skateboarding park competition on Sunday.
It is back to Toronto, and classes and homework, for Ebert on Monday but certainly not back to normal with the teenager now one of the hot names in what will be one of the coolest sports at next year’s Paris Olympics.
There is work ahead, with Ebert still having to qualify for Paris, but her polished performance in Santiago has put her in the spotlight.
Competing with a good-luck feather in her helmet from Richard, one of her two pet ducks, Ebert gave her father the perfect present on his birthday, posting a winning score of 84.66 points to grab gold ahead of Brazil’s Raicca Ventura on 82.54 and American Bryce Wettstein (79.95).
“I was pumped I got podium but I was like ah, I just want to land my full run and have fun and smile,” Ebert told Reuters. “I can’t find words to explain how exciting it was.”
Even in a sport packed with young talent, the diminutive Ebert stands out.
Introduced to skateboarding at eight years old after spotting an offer for free lessons during a school holiday, Ebert excelled and narrowly missed out on making Canada’s 2021 Olympic team.
But she is on course for a Paris spot where the competition could include fellow teenagers Briton Sky Brown, the Tokyo bronze medal winner, and Japan’s silver medallist Kokona Hiraki, both 15.
“This has been a very, very good experience for me,” said Ebert, who told her mother when she was in grade one that she wanted to run in the Olympics. “This experience was like, oh the Olympics is going to be similar to this, so cool it makes me very excited.”
A fearless dynamo known for her power and speed in the bowl, Ebert has a reputation for embracing pressure, even thriving off it.
But pressure and attention are two different things and Ebert will be returning home to the spotlight and plenty of demands on her time.
Back in Toronto she will no longer be just another skater at the Beaches skateboard park but a Pan Am Games gold medallist but, says her mother Elisabeth, that will not be a problem for her down-to-earth daughter.
“It’s going to be the same,” said Elisabeth, who travels to competitions with her daughter. “All the skaters, they’ve known her for years, they all love her; she skates with 50 year olds, she skates with 10 year olds. She’s always kept it really humble.
“We don’t want to pressure her because she’s still a kid; she’s 13, she has friends, she’s in school. She has a life.”