“Super-exciting” is how 10-year-old Sky Brown describes the prospect of making history at next year’s Tokyo Games as the youngest and most audacious British summer Olympian of all.
She has already crammed more into her first decade than most manage in a lifetime, from winning last year’s junior Dancing With The Stars in the US to becoming a social media sensation and raising tens of thousands of dollars to help Cambodian orphans.
But skateboards and surf boards make her happiest of all, and that is why her father Stu is supporting her improbable yet – he insists – eminently realistic attempt to qualify to compete in 2020 in not one but both sports, which will each make their debuts in Tokyo.
“Sky is trying to qualify in two sports and she fights very hard to get what she wants,” said Stu Brown, who with his Japanese wife home-schools Sky and her seven-year-old brother Ocean as they zip across global time-zones in pursuit of their dreams.
Brown told Press Association Sport: “It is super-amazing and I’m really proud of her, but I’m most proud of her for other reasons than just skateboarding and surfing.
“What she wants to do for other kids and for girls, and for who she is, that’s what makes me the most proud, without any Olympics or gold medals in the picture.
“As a parent she teaches us more than we could ever teach her.”
Sky’s comfort in front of the camera is understandable. She has been a stalwart of senior skateboarding and surfing competitions for two years, and can already reel off a series of significant international victories in both.
With no lower age limits in either of her chosen Olympic disciplines, and a transparent qualification process which requires her to achieve a top 20 world ranking ahead of next year’s cut-off date, observers believe Brown has every chance of success.
Skateboard GB chair Lucy Adams: 10 yo Sky Brown is âabsolutely phenomenalâ pic.twitter.com/Qr4xIapOtc— Mark Staniforth (@markstani1) March 14, 2019
“I’m super-excited – I’m just going to go out there and try my best,” Sky, who was born in Miyazaki on the Japanese island of Kyushu, told Press Association Sport.
“I feel like a skateboard is my happy place and I just love it – it makes me feel good and happy and like I can do anything.
“I love surfing too, and I would love to (go to the Olympics in both sports). When I surf it just feels like I’m playing. I feel like it is just going to be so much fun.”
Brown is one of five British skateboarders who have been selected to receive UK Sport ‘Aspiration’ funding, designed to assist athletes from sports outside the existing World Class Programme to pursue qualification for Tokyo.
Another, the 26-year-old former X Games gold medallist Sam Beckett, who is considered Britain’s best chance of winning a first skateboard medal, believes the potential impact of Sky’s participation cannot be under-estimated.
“It’s going to have a really positive effect with women’s skateboarding,” said Beckett.
“For a long time girls might have been deterred by the scene and how male-dominated it is, and I think that is probably one of the most positive things about skateboarding getting into the Olympics.”
If selected, Brown, who will be 12 years and 155 days old on the first day of her first competition, would become the youngest British summer Olympian and second only to the figure skater Cecilia Colledge, who competed at the 1932 Games in Lake Placid at the age of 11.
The last British athlete to win medals in two different sports at the same games was Edward Barrett, who won tug-of-war team gold and heavyweight wrestling bronze at the London Olympics in 1908.