Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Sky Brown on her 'love' for hero Dina Asher-Smith ahead of Olympic debut

After a horrific crash last year put her Olympic dreams in doubt, Sky Brown wants you to know she's back, ready to impress for Britain at Tokyo in 2021, and inspired by the sprint star.
By Chloe Merrell

Thanks to Sky Brown, Great Britain’s Tokyo 2020 roster just got a whole lot younger.

The skateboarding sensation, who is “stoked” for her first ever Olympic Games in 2021, will arrive in the Japanese capital already a record-breaker. Brown will become Britain’s youngest ever summer Olympian at 13 years 11 days old, surpassing the record previously held by Margery Hinton in 1928.

With an infectious grin and a glowing optimism, Brown, whose sport is debuting at the Olympics in Japan, will scale the mega ramps of the Ariake Urban Sports Park carrying the weight of expectation.

As a bronze medallist at the 2019 World Championships, and currently ranked No 3 in the world, Sky Brown is name humming around medal conversations. Pundits constantly speak of her as one to watch.

It’s something she in common with one of her heroes, another Team GB favourite, Dina Asher-Smith.

“She’s so sweet and so good – I love her,” Brown shared, gushing about the athletics star, as she was officially named on the Great Britain team.

It’s a glowing report worthy of Britain’s fastest woman who has her eyes set on the sprint double in Tokyo.

With their beaming smiles and athletic promise, Brown and Asher-Smith are set to be Britain’s “poster girls” for the Games in July.

Both are acutely aware of that fact; neither shy away from the life-changing potential their performances could have.

An opportunity to touch lives

Speaking to exclusively to Olympics.com on International Women’s Day earlier this year, 25-year-old Asher Smith said, “You have the opportunity to touch so many people’s lives, to create a moment, and make so many people proud, make so many people feel emotion, make so many people scream at their TVs, cry if it goes well, cry if it doesn’t.”

You can hear the echo of her words in Brown’s own when she talks about her capacity to inspire young girls with her skateboard performance:

“Everyone from all around the world is watching […] I feel like if I’m the little one in there going big, hopefully they’ll think that maybe I can do it.” - Sky Brown

Sky's worst fall yet

Although Brown might not yet have reached the same levels of fame as Asher-Smith, there is a degree of certainty that after the world’s greatest sporting event closes, she will be a household name.

Not least because, even at such a young age, Brown has already survived the tougher side of her sport: a life-threatening crash.

Just over a year ago, the then 11-year-old was airlifted to hospital after falling off a half-pipe and landing head-first onto her hand. Unresponsive for some 12 to 16 hours, the young skateboarder suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand.

Brown refused to let the accident hold her back.

“Getting back on the board – I wasn’t scared at all. I just wanted to get back – I don’t know – I was excited. I actually felt stronger after that; I actually wanted to do more things, like I did the mega ramp after that.”

From the skateboard to the surfboard for a future Olympics?

If there were any doubt about Brown being one of the most exciting prospects at this summer’s Games, then perhaps the words of the legendary Tony Hawk will do the talking.

Speaking to ESPN, the skateboarding pioneer described Brown as “a unicorn."

"She could definitely be one of the best female skaters ever, if not one of the best, well-rounded skaters ever, regardless of gender. She has such confidence, such force, event at such a young age. The way she’s able to learn new tricks and the way she absorbs direction, it’s so rare.”

Attention is now on the star and her park prowess, but she has also shown a remarkable talent on another type of board.

Already looking ahead, as only so young can do, Brown is eyeing up a surfing appearance at a future Olympic Games.

Surfing is another debuting sport at Tokyo 2020, but due to a relative lack of athlete depth, Britain will have no showing in the event taking place on Tsurigasaki Beach.

Could Brown fill that void in the future and become part of an elite group of athletes who have competed in two disciplines at the Games? For one that has already achieved so much, the sky is surely the limit.