Sky Brown may be small but she sure can pack a punch. At just 10 years old, the skateboarding phenom already has a number of major contests wins under her belt, has qualified for the 2020 British Olympic skateboarding team, and took home the win at the first-ever Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.
Born in Miyazaki, Japan, the goofy-footer grew up near the beach, surfing and skating the waves and streets of her hometown. With a Japanese mother and a British father, Brown currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Japan and is proud to represent both of her countries in her competitions and daily life.
Brown oftentimes finds herself training with (and competing against) men and women over twice her age. While it would be easy to get intimidated, Brown instead sees it as an opportunity to empower kids to chase their dreams and let girls know they can do anything that boys can.
She carries herself very well, smiles often, and reminds her fans it’s all about having fun. Here, Brown shares how she first got into the sport, why she chose to represent Great Britain in the 2020 Olympics, and why she’s proud to be a young girl in a male-dominated sport.
How did you first get into skateboarding?
I grew up near the beach so I spent every free minute in the water. As soon as I could swim, I learned how to surf. We have a mini ramp in our backyard for skateboarding. My dad loves to skate with his friends so I guess that’s where it all really started.
What nationality are you?
I am both Japanese and British. My father is British. Even though I live in Japan, I spent a lot of my childhood in the USA because we have family there. I love visiting because of the skate and surf culture in Los Angeles. I love Japan, not only because I am Japanese, but also because of the culture, people, and the food. I also love the UK. It’s amazing and so different but there are also many similarities in culture.
Do you ever get intimidated competing against people over twice your age?
No, I never get intimidated by my age or size. It’s actually the opposite; I want to show other young people that you can do anything you put your mind to and competing with adults helps me prove my point.
How excited are you to compete in the 2020 Olympics?
I’m so excited. I can’t really put it into words other than it’s a dream. This is such a great platform to spread my message to all of the girls around the world.
Why did you choose to represent Great Britain?
I chose to represent Great Britain because after talking with the Team Great Britain chairlady [Lucy Adams] on videophone for over six months, I felt their approach to skateboarding was more similar to mine. Lucy said to me, “It’s just about having fun and doing your best, but most importantly, enjoying the journey.”
This is also how I approach skateboarding, so it was a perfect match. I am the only girl and the youngest on the team by over 10 years. The road to the Olympics is still a year of contests away but I feel very confident.
Which competition results to date are you most proud of?
Even though I’ve had a lot of wins, some of my proudest moments were ones where I didn’t actually get first place. A big one for me was in Vans Park Series, I actually got a 2nd place but I beat the current world champion. I did a frontside 540 and no girl had ever done it at the time, especially in a contest.
Simple Sessions in Estonia was also great because there were a lot of different skaters, including Street League Girls. The contest was a hybrid between street and park. I won and my best friend got 2nd place, so it was fun to share the podium together.
How do you feel being a girl in a male-dominated sport?
I feel it’s important to show girls that gender does not matter. We don’t have to care, just do what you love.
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