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On February 27, 2023, British teenager, Mia Brookes, became the youngest-ever snowboarding world champion. The 16-year-old achieved the feat after winning the gold in the slopestyle event at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia. Brookes is the first British athlete to win the title.
Brookes was assured a silver medal after her first run. Determined to take the lead, she decided to attempt a CAB 1440 double grab on the second run. The daring trick involves taking off backward, performing four rotations in the air, and grabbing the board twice. The talented snowboarder executed the trick perfectly. Her effort was rewarded with a winning score of 91.38. She is the first woman to land a CAB 1440 double grab in a FIS competition.
"I'd tried it [the CAB 1440 double grab] before, and this is the first time I've stomped it, so I'm super happy," Brookes told BBC. "I actually can't believe it."
Brookes first stepped on a snowboard when she was just 18 months old. The young girl honed her skills in both the UK and on European ski trips with her parents. "We would spend about six weeks on snow when Mia was little, and she was soon snowboarding at our level with us and always loved the snow parks, the jumps, and the rails," her father, Nigel, told BBC.
Her talent did not go unnoticed. When she was ten, Brookes was selected by coaches from GB sports. The government-funded program trains British athletes to compete in world championships. In 2022, at the age of 15, Brookes won the women's Junior World Title in the Big Air event and finished second in slopestyle. In January 2023, the snowboarding phenom earned a silver at the Slopestyle World Cup in Laax, Switzerland. She was also one of only eight snowboarders invited to the 2023 X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
Brookes was too young to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But she is ready to showcase her skills at the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games. "The Olympic rings are at the end of the tunnel," she says. "But I take it day-by-day and think about what I need to improve on next."
When not snowboarding, Brookes likes to go on long bike rides with her dad. The teenager also likes to skate, surf, and play the guitar!
Resources: teamgb.com, CNN.com, theguardian.com, Wikipedia.org