Sky Brown: Details About The Skateboarding Olympian

With the Olympics rolling around in July 2021 after a year-long pause while the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes are turning to the competitors, and some of them are more interesting than others. Yes, we're talking about Sky Brown, the 13-year-old professional skateboarder who'll be representing Britain at the Tokyo Olympic Games. A girl who has so many skills in different walks of life is sure to become a legend.

Make no mistake, including Brown in the 2021 Olympics isn't some sort of publicity gimmick. She earned her spot. This young teen flies higher than the majority of professional adults and has landed tricks that would make even the heroes of skateboarding proud. But not all of Brown's life revolves around skateboarding. Much of it, yes, but not all. She's surprisingly accomplished in several different fields. She's had ups and downs just like anyone, and there are more than enough interesting details about the Olympian to make any discussion lively. 

This isn't a story of lip gloss, text messages, and boy problems that nobody but the most inattentive teen girls would care about. When you tune in to watch all the action of the 2021 Summer Games after reading this piece, you'll know there's more to this skateboarder than meets the eye.

The youngest Olympian in 2021

Sky Brown being the youngest Olympian in the 2021 Tokyo games might not seem like much — someone always has to be the youngest participant, after all. That is until you realize she'll only be a few days over 13 years old when the games commence. Having been 12 years old when she faced her trials and earned her title as "Olympian" doesn't just make her the youngest person competing in this year's games — it makes her one of the youngest Olympians to ever take part in this quaternary event.

According to Reuters, Brown will actually be the youngest person to ever go to the Summer Olympics for Britain, having broken her predecessor Margery Hinton's record by 33 days. That record had been held since 1928, if that gives you any idea how rare it is to see a young teen like this compete. Brown won't be taking the title home for youngest Olympian nor youngest British Olympian in any games, though. The former honor goes to Dimitrios Loundras, age 10, from Greece, who the official Olympics website says was the youngest Olympian to ever compete, and the latter goes to figure skater Cecilia Colledge, who competed for Britain in the 1932 Winter games. She was only 11 years old.

Dimitrios Loundras competed in the parallel bars competition during the first modern Olympics in 1896, and if you notice, the other records are all around 90 years old. This doesn't happen every day, and Sky should be proud.

Sky Brown broke her skull skating

Competing at the Olympic level isn't easy. It takes serious dedication, ample training, the proper diets and routines, and so on. Your entire life must be lived around and for your sport if you want to have any chance of winning, and Sky Brown is already there. She took home silver in the Olympic qualifier in Des Moines, Iowa, and beat several talented adults and older kids to claim her spot in the Olympics, for crying out loud. (Is anyone else excited?) But Brown knows just how hard and dangerous training for this type of event can be because, for the young skater, reaching the Olympics is actually a comeback story.

At 11 years old, according to the BBC, Brown had a major scrape with death while training for the Olympic qualifier in June 2020. While attempting a trick over a gap between half-pipes, the young professional skater missed, hitting the ramp headfirst before landing on the concrete. The fall was bad enough that her family feared for her life as she was rushed to the hospital by helicopter. In total, Brown sustained fractures to her skull, her left hand, and her left wrist. GiveMeSport says her injuries required surgery, and definitely some time off the ramps, but somehow, Brown braved the trauma and managed to secure her Olympic station in less than a year, anyway.

Sky Brown is the youngest professional skater in the world

Sky Brown being the youngest person to compete for Britain in the Summer Olympic games seems pretty rad (and it is), but here's the real deal: The dream Brown's spent her youth chasing after has made her the youngest professional skater in the world — that's the entire Earth — according to Business Insider and just about every other publication you're likely to come across. Let's look at how that started.

This journey starts at 3 years old when Brown first started riding a skateboard. As Quartz explains, this may be partially because she grew up in a family of skaters and even went to a seemingly magical preschool that had its own skatepark on the property. It's like fate was willing her to get on that grip tape. Within just a few years, Brown would become the youngest person to skate in the Vans US Open Pro Series at eight years old. She fell off her deck during a single heat, but everyone watching was thrown off their rocker by the sheer talent this literal child possessed. The sponsors started pouring in. (Not that she didn't have any before that.)

By 10 years old, she was already well on her way to becoming an Olympian when the rest of us were barely grasping tag at recess.

Skateboarding isn't the only sport she competes in

You'd think being a professional skateboarder at 13 years old would sap so much of Sky Brown's time that there wouldn't be any left to pursue other interests. You'd be wrong, but it seems like a rational thing to believe. After all, there's school and homework and all that other stuff 13-year-olds are probably busy with. Amid all the hassle of tween life and YouTube fame, this Olympian has managed to make a name for herself in another sport, as well.

Along with being an Olympic-level professional skateboarder, a prodigy, some might say, Brown has moved into the professional realm of surfing as well. As Youth1 notes, long-time professional surfer Pat O'Connell has even taken an interest in her, acting as her mentor, and believes she has "an old soul" that can "read the waves" better than most who step on a waxed board.

Some of Sky's notable accomplishments in the realm of surfing include tying for the win in the 2019 Stab High Ladybirds competition, according to Wavelength Magazine, and stomping the powerful waves of the North Shore. There's even been some rumors about her representing Britain in a future Olympic surfing event — some even wondered if she'd be surfing this time around — but we won't know if the rumors are true or not for another four years or so.

She spends part of the year in Japan

Being a professional skateboarder means being all over the place, literally. World competitions take skateboarders from one country to the next in search of glory and gold, and those are the ones that not only pay the best but are the most likely to bring in recognition and, you know, sponsors. For Sky Brown, there's a facet of her family that has her traveling across the world as well.

Even though Brown is representing Britain in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, according to the BBC, she spends quite a bit of time in Japan. Why? Well, it's where Brown's parents met. More importantly, it's where Brown's mother is from and where Sky was born. The family keeps a place there, and the Brown children attend half the school year on that side of the Pacific. The other half, they attend in ... California. But how on Earth could a girl who was born in Japan and lives between there and California represent Britain in the Olympics? Easy. Her father is English, but he moved to the United States back when he was a teenager. Apparently, that's all it takes.

Brown decided to represent Britain instead of Japan because the attitude there is more relaxed. It doesn't hurt that her parents are fond of Skateboard Great Britain chair Lucy Adams, either, who they say is the only reason they allowed Sky to do the whole Olympics thing in the first place.

Her brother is also a talented skater

Sky Brown might be going to the Olympics, but she didn't get there alone. She's had the constant support of her parents and, of course, her little brother, Ocean Brown, whom she tends to do everything with. Sky and Ocean sounds like a mystical paring from some ancient prophecy, and if you've ever seen the two of them skateboard, you might believe it to be true. Ocean helps his sister with training, according to HyperBeast, but their training isn't really a strict, intensive program, or anything. Basically, they both like to hit the ramps together, pushing each other so they can transcend new heights.

Ocean is no slouch on a skateboard, either. Thanks to his older sister's decision to start skating at such a young age, Ocean's been on a board since roughly the time he learned to walk, and he's got the skills that come along with it. When he was only 3 years old, he was listed as one of GoSkate's top skaters under 10 years old alongside his sister, giving the Brown family two of five spots. Unlike Sky, Ocean has yet to go pro, but with the way he handles a skateboard, he'll probably be there before long.

These are her signature tricks

Every skateboarder has the signature tricks they're known for, and according to Tony Hawk in an ESPN interview, Sky has the ability to absorb new tricks and make them seem like a natural part of her repertoire in a way few other skaters ever could. In fact, the legend predicts she'll become one of the best skateboarders of all time regardless of gender. Even so, she still has a move set that's all her own, and it's pretty impressive.

On Sky and Ocean's YouTube channel, Brown describes her best tricks, which include the bluntflip and the frontside flip. Brown's sponsor CLIF also includes the Japan Air and the Air Reverse Full Rotation. But in 2019 while competing in the X Games, as Tie Breaker notes, she unveiled her biggest trick yet in a completely unprecedented move. Sky Brown pulled off a frontside 540, making her the first female to ever land this trick during the competition. The move requires you to spin to your blind side in a way that obscures your vision, preventing you from seeing where you're landing. It's a hard move to land since you have let go of all fear and trust that you set your landing up perfectly.

The kid is always learning new tricks and pushing herself, so we can expect her list of tricks to grow even more extensive (and complicated) as time goes on.

Her hidden fear has nothing to do with falling

It's easy to see the high-flying tricks Sky Brown pulls while she competes and think she's fearless, but even though it might not seem like it at times, she's human like the rest of us. Given her close encounter with the afterlife during her accident in 2020, one could easily assume her hidden fear has something to do with falling or getting injured. Sure, Brown will tell you that skateboarding is filled with fear. In fact, that's what she told Eurosport, but she also told them it's the type of fear she likes because she gets to overcome it every time she hits the ramps. But there is one fear the young prodigy has that she can't so easily get past.

During an interview with CLIF, a company whose sticker you'll see on the bottom of Brown's board, the Olympian confesses: "I am so scared of insects and bugs! I just hate them!"

Now, it might seem like a minor thing to get so worked up about, but there are plenty of adults who do the heebee-jeebie dance anytime they feel a creepy-crawly, and Brown is a kid. A very talented kid, but a kid nonetheless.

Sky Brown has pipes

The first question we need to ask when looking at any of Sky Brown's extracurricular activities is "Where does she find the time?" Outside of sports, the world's youngest professional skateboarder has a whole mess of talents. For one, she's a talented vocalist. It might not be a hobby that'll bring her to a future Olympic competition, but she's pretty safe in that realm of things with the skateboarding and surfing and whatnot. And when we say "singing," we don't simply mean she likes to belt out a few notes in the shower. No, this girl is dropping singles.

The single "GIRL" can be found on her YouTube channel with over 3.5 million views. The song is an expression about how being a girl, even a girly girl, doesn't mean you can't be "gritty." You know, doing sports stuff, playing in the mud, all the things boys are thought to do. According to Sweety High, Brown is signed with Brat Records, which is another big-ticket move for the young pro ... well ... everything-er. And this wasn't just a record company stunt to make a few extra dollars on the side. Brown says she's wanted to write her own songs for a long time, and she worked really hard taking vocal lessons to make this dream happen. She also says she wants everyone to listen to "GIRL" and make a TikTok to it. So, get on it. We don't make the rules.

She won Dancing with the Stars: Juniors

If you try to list all of skateboarding Olympian Sky Brown's accomplishments off in a single sentence, it gets tiring. Youngest pro skater, pro surfer, signed musician — you get the idea. And we have at least one more incredible thing to add to the list: Sky Brown not only competed in but won "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors."

In 2018, as USA Today notes, Brown danced alongside her partner JT Church in the first-ever season of the youth dancing reality show competition, and the two fought hard through every episode to take home the number-one slot in the finale. It couldn't have been an easy competition, either. Remember, Brown was only 10 years old at the time, but to be fair, all of the kids were young. She'd spent her entire life focusing on skateboarding and surfing, and now, with no board beneath her feat, she had to get on a stage in front of cameras and spectators and dance for the win. 

The competitors listed on the season (via CNN) were no chumps, either. These included Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, Ariana Greenblatt from "The One and Only Ivan," Hudson West from "Modern Family," Scottie Pippen's daughter Sophia Pippen, and other big names that had probably spent a lot more time in front of a camera than Brown ever had. It didn't matter, though. She squashed them all. Politely and elegantly, of course.

Sky Brown will be skating in a history-making event

Sky Brown, youngest professional skater in the world and the youngest Olympian to go to the Summer Games for Great Britain, will be competing in an Olympics set to make history. The 2021 Tokyo games are shaking it up. How, exactly? Well, to begin with, Brown wouldn't have been able to compete in any of the games before this one unless she'd trained in a different sport. This year will be the first games ever to include skateboarding, which the official Olympics website says will be run in two different events, park and street. Brown will be competing in the Park event, featuring a hollowed skate park commonly called a "bowl." The other event is the street skate, which is done in a flat course with stairs and rails, much like you'd find on a city street.

There are other new additions this year, too. According to NBC, surfing, sport climbing, and karate will be debuting alongside the skateboarding competition. Likewise, softball and baseball are making a return. The games will also include a few new events in older sports, such as 3-on-3 basketball and freestyle BMX. Basically, this seems to be the first Olympics where the International Olympic Committee went all-in on the younger demographic, which is a good thing. If they'd only run the same old sports that have been collecting dust since the early 1900s, we wouldn't get to see young Sky Brown wreck the older competitors.