Meet the 13-year-old Toronto skateboarder who won gold at the Pan Am Games

In the heart of Santiago, Chile, a remarkable event unfolded during the Pan American Games that left spectators and fellow athletes alike in awe. At just 13 years of age, Fay De Fazio Ebert, a young talent from Toronto, etched her name in history as a gold medallist.

Ebert’s feat came in the women’s skateboard park competition. With the sun shining down on the Urban Sports Esplanade of the National Stadium, the stage was set for an extraordinary display of skill and determination.

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.”

But at that point, she wasn’t sure she’d won. She wasn’t stressed, instead she concentrated on cheering on the one person who could beat her — Brazil’s 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 triumph in the women’s park competition marked Canada’s fifth gold medal in the Pan American Games at that point. The Canadian team had already made its mark by securing four gold medals on the previous day, highlighting the extraordinary talents of its athletes. In addition to these gold medals, Canada also earned two silver and three bronze medals, making the country’s performance in the games a resounding success.

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.

Fay DeFazio Ebert in the bowl during the Pan Am Games (photo: COC & @juliodetefon)

“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 also keeps a pair of pet ducks at her Toronto family home. And skates with one of their feathers adorning 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.”

Ebert trains every day and can usually be found skating one of the two bowls in Toronto at Leaside’s Vanderhoof Skate Park and Ashbridge’s Bay. And it was the later where she skated for the first time following her gold medal win. 

“It was raining. But I was like, okay, I’m gonna see everybody and skate with everybody. And then I got to the bowl and like two people are skating there. And they’re like oh haha congrats, but everybody went home,” she explains. “And I was like, okay. Why are we still at the skate park? It’s raining. And then they were like come here there’s some weird spray paint in the bowl let me show you. And then everybody was hiding in the bowl, and they surprised me with confetti and stuff. It was really fun. And we all hung out and had cake and stuff.”

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.