At first sight, Sky Brown may appear to be like any other 11-year-old with a passion for skateboarding. However, spend a few minutes observing the young girl on the ramp, and you will realize that she is no ordinary skater, but a prodigy with several accolades under her belt. In addition to clinching the gold at the United Kingdom (UK) National Skateboarding Championship in 2019, she is currently ranked third in the world for women in the "park" discipline.
These achievements, along with a bronze medal at the September 2019 Park World Skateboarding Championship held in São Paulo, Brazil, have all but guaranteed the young girl a spot in the four-person women's team representing the UK in the inaugural skateboarding competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. If Brown, who will turn 12 shortly before the Tokyo Games begin in July 2020, participates in the upcoming Olympics qualifying events and remains injury-free, she will become the youngest British Olympian at the Summer Games. The previous record was held by swimmer Margery Hinton, who was 13 years and 43 days old when she competed at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
When asked if she was nervous about her potential Olympic debut, the young girl quipped, "I don't feel any nerves. It will be really cool to be the youngest Olympian. People might think you're too young or that you can't do it, but I want to show that it's not about your size or age. I want to be in the Olympics to inspire other girls to show them you can do anything. I'm excited for Tokyo. I love Simone Biles' attitude. She just goes for it."
Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and British father, Brown began skateboarding when she was just four years old. "At first, I mostly learned from YouTube," she says. "I said to my dad 'please, please, please teach me,' and he taught me a little. But if I want to learn a trick, I'll just search it online and study about it myself."
Brown, who spends most of the year in Huntington Beach, California, is a good surfer as well. The young girl had initially planned to compete in surfing, which is also making its Olympic debut in 2020, as well, but then decided to only pursue just skateboarding. "I like them both the same, they're super similar," she says. "But it's like if you go and get ramen and ice cream – if you eat too much ramen you want to go and get ice cream. I used to be better at surfing, but I've been skating a lot lately, and I've got way better from doing contests. It's made me want to go harder." If that is not impressive enough, she is also an outstanding snowboarder, figure skater, and an accomplished dancer who won the Dancing With The Stars: Juniors competition in 2018.
The phenom, who has already garnered a Nike sponsorship and appeared in advertising campaigns alongside legendary athletes like Serena Williams and Megan Rapinoe, spends about three months of the year competing around the world. When not traveling, Brown is just like any typical preteen. "I relax, I watch TikTok and Netflix. I love yummy food," she says. "And I go to school. I like music and math. I'm not a great student, but I like learning stuff."
The young girl aspires to be a skateboarder, surfer and dancer, and even play the guitar when she grows up. However, for now, she is focusing on perfecting a new move — a backside 540, which involves spinning one-and-a-half times towards your toes — for the Olympics. We have a feeling this young girl will be on the Olympic podium for many years to come!
Resources: theguardian.com, Olympic.org,www.bbc.com