Sky Brown: The 13-year-old skateboarding superstar who has made Team GB history

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Sky Brown’s bronze medal was the latest in a list of extraordinary achievements (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)
Sky Brown’s bronze medal was the latest in a list of extraordinary achievements (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

She has almost one million Instagram followers and could boast both a victory on the American television series ‘Dancing With The Stars: Juniors’ and a World Championship medal on her list of achievements before she had even reached her teens.

On Wednesday at a steaming Ariake Urban Park, Sky Brown added arguably her most audacious achievement yet as she held her nerve to nail her final run of the women’s skateboard park competition to become Great Britain’s youngest medallist of all time.

At 13 years and 28 days, Brown – who astonishingly was not even the youngest athlete on the medal podium, with that honour going to Japan’s 12-year-old silver medallist Kokona Hiraki – has accomplished far more than the majority of her contemporaries will manage in a lifetime.

Sky Brown finished behind two Japanese skaters – one of whom was even younger (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)
Sky Brown finished behind two Japanese skaters – one of whom was even younger (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Yet it was not the mere fact of her bronze medal that impressed the most – it was Brown’s ability to shrug off successive falls in the first two of her three final runs and nail the last, with a trick that had repeatedly eluded her, as if she was enjoying just another day down at the skate park.

Her British-born father, Stu, has been adamant that Sky should enter the Olympics on her own terms. He dissuaded her from an initial, outrageous ambition to also try to compete in surfing, although she is adamant that that will be her goal at the Paris Olympics in just three years’ time.

Brown was born in Miyazaki, Japan, in July 2008, just one month prior to the Beijing Olympics, at which the idea of a sport like skateboarding elbowing its way on the sacred schedule would have been regarded as something approaching preposterous.

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Brown’s father was a skateboarder and she emulated him early, learning her tricks via Youtube which she would then try to match on a makeshift ramp in the family’s back garden. She proved so successful that at the age of 10 she became the youngest professional skateboarder in the world.

Growing up between Japan and California, Brown won ‘Dancing With The Stars’ in 2018, and the following year she committed to trying to fulfil her Olympic ambitions representing Great Britain having previously indicated she might represent the country of her birth.

Brown finished third at the park World Championships in Sao Paolo in 2019, a performance that effectively secured her place at the Olympics, although her future in the sport was thrown into doubt by an horrific crash in training in May last year.

She suffered a fractured skull and various other injuries during a dramatic fall from a half-pipe, which she captured and posted on social media. From her hospital bed, she wrote: “I’m excited to come back even stronger and tougher. My heart wants to go so hard right now.”

Despite initial doubts over whether she would even continue in the sport, Brown proved as good as her word. She warmed up for her Olympic debut by winning gold at the prestigious X Games last month. But the most high-profile moment of her young life was yet to come.

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