Skatergirl Sky is Britain’s youngest summer Olympian at age 12

At the age of just 12, Sky Brown can be forgiven for admitting she is too young to have any memories of the Olympic Games.

But, the talented and daring skateboarder who honed her skills by watching YouTube videos is to become Britain’s youngest summer Olympian after being selected by Team GB on Thursday.

She will have turned 13 years and 11 days old when the Games start later this month, 31 days younger than Margery Hinton, who was 13 years and 44 days old when she competed at swimming in the summer Games in 1928. 

The Covid-19 crisis may even have helped her gain a place in sporting history.

The Tokyo Games were cancelled last year when she was recovering from life-threatening injuries after crashing down from a 15ft ramp. She suffered multiple fractures to her skull, as well as a broken arm and fingers.

Asked about being chosen for the team, Sky, born in Miyazaki, Japan, to a British father and Japanese mother, said: "I think I watched the Olympics before, but I don’t really remember."

Her selection offers her an opportunity to inspire other girls – and women – to take up skateboarding.

"Everyone around the world will be watching, and I feel like if I’m the little one in there going big, hopefully they [females] will think, ‘maybe I can do it’. I can show the world how fun and creative skateboarding is."

She will be joined in the two-person team by the New York-born Bombette Martin, who is only 14, but considers herself "three-quarters Brummie". They will both be accompanied to Tokyo by their British fathers.

Unlike many other sports, there are no age limits for skateboarding. One of their competitors will be 46-year-old Rune Glifberg, the so-called Danish Destroyer.

Sky said: "If you go to a skate park it is mostly boys there. Now there’s more girls, which is cool. But I think girls are sometimes scared to be the only girl there and to be judged by the boys.

12-year-old Sky performs 'daredevil' stunts …

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

… like this, but …

Credit: Paul Cooper for The Telegraph

… they don't always end well. One fall put her in hospital with life-threatening injuries, but she says she 'felt stronger' after the accident

Credit: Charlotte Ball/YouTube

"But I feel like watching the Olympics and seeing how many girls are doing the sport and how good and fun it is. If they watch the Olympics they’re going to really want to do it."

Sky has lived much of her life in the spotlight, having won the junior version of the US show Dancing With The Stars aged just 10 in 2018.

She hopes to one day be selected for the Olympics in surfing, a sport she first competed professionally at the age of eight.

She said she was "stoked and excited" about her call-up by Team GB, adding how it was a "crazy feeling" and "more than a dream come true".

Her selection was inevitable after she won a bronze medal in the "park event" – a bowl-shaped course of ramps – at the 2019 World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

She has a huge following on social media, in part down to the daredevil "tricks" on her skateboard she films and broadcasts. Her YouTube official music video has had more than three million views and her Instagram account has more than 870,000 followers.

One video boasts how, despite her terrible accident, "nothing stops me".

"It was a pretty bad accident," she said on Thursday. "I was knocked out for 12 to 16 hours. It was a really bad time. I couldn’t see my brother [Ocean, a talented surfer] for the whole time, and only one of my parents could come in.

"But I recovered really fast, and getting back on the board, I wasn’t scared at all, I was excited. I actually felt stronger after that. I wanted to do more things – I did the mega-ramp after that."

She was equally gung-ho about her chances next month. 

"I’m just thinking about blasting, going high, getting my kicks and getting my line, and having style," she said.

"You’ll see lots of unexpected things. It’s going to be super-fun to watch."

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