Third time lucky sees Brown sky high as Britain's youngest Olympic medallist

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Sky Brown became Britain's youngest Olympic medallist of all-time when the 13-year-old won skateboarding bronze in Tokyo
Sky Brown became Britain's youngest Olympic medallist of all-time when the 13-year-old won skateboarding bronze in Tokyo

From James Toney in Tokyo

Sky Brown took a deep breath, the hot Tokyo air burning her lungs, and lived out that motto about trying, trying and trying again.

Twice she'd attempted to land a 'Kickflip Indy' and twice she was sent spinning across the shining concrete. Now there was one last chance.

Skateboarding's park competition sees riders take on a course pitted with mounds, ramps and rails, with just 45 seconds to show off their rotations, grinds and alley oops. With one run left Brown - the recent X Games champion - was just outside the medals.

However, this teen is not one for holding back and playing it safe, her coach and father Stu telling her whatever happened wouldn't define her.

She dropped in and worked her way around the course, momentum building to the moment, those watching holding their collective breath.

The 'Kickflip Indy' involves doing a backside air while gripping the board on the toe side, between the feet with the trailing hand. It's hard to write down and even harder to do but it carried the points required to put Brown on the podium.

And at the third time of asking, she nailed it, punching the air with both hands to underline just how much it meant. The judges were suitably impressed and it secured Brown her Olympic bronze, making the teenager - aged 13 years and 23 days - the youngest British Olympic medallist of all-time.

And that's not bad when you consider Jason Kenny, who became Britain's most successful Olympian of all-time with his eighth medal on Tuesday, won his first gold when Brown was just five months old.

Japan's Sakura Yosozumi and Kokona Hiraki, aged 19 and 12, took gold and silver but the British skater had no complaints with her podium place and was happy to be part of history, Hiraki the youngest medallist for 85 years.

“My Dad told me 'it’s just a contest, if you fall it doesn’t define you'. I mean honestly that made me feel better," she said, her competition live on Eurosport and discovery+.

“Sakura (Yosozumi – gold medallist) said ‘you’ve got it Sky, I know you’re going to make it’.,

“I was a little nervous but I’m happy to be here and honestly I just wanted to land my trick. I didn’t really care what place I got, I wanted to land my trick.

“I’m so stoked, I can’t believe it. I'm so happy to be on the podium with these guys, it's just insane. The medal feels unreal, it’s like a dream. I can’t wait to show it to my family and friends. I did speak to my mum and my brother and my mum was crying."

Brown splits her time between homes in California and Japan, living with her British father, Japanese mother Mieko and younger brother Ocean, with whom see shares her YouTube channel.

There is no doubting her star power, today she cracked the magic million followers on Instagram, but there's a determination to give her as normal a life as possible.

Indeed for someone who defies gravity for fun, Brown seems a remarkably grounded teen - which is pretty impressive when you consider she's had a Barbie doll made in her likeness and had written her first book before she became a teenager.

"She's straight back to school and will do the normal things that families do," said father Stu. "We'll take her off social media for a little while and keep things relaxed."

You need to bounce back tough in this sport, scrapes, bruises and broken bones are part of the lexicon, along with the obligatory use of the word ‘stoked’.

Just over a year ago the teen was lying in intensive care, her skull fractured in multiple places, her left arm broken, her fingers busted with serious lacerations to both her stomach and lungs. She loaded the video nasty to her social media channels and even called it 'cool' and when other parents asked her to stop she played the teenage stereotype and did exactly the opposite.

“I honestly feel that accident made me stronger," she said.

"That accident was pretty bad. It was a hard time for my parents and a hard time for a lot of people and coming back and getting the bronze is really cool."

With a name like Sky, a headline writer’s dream for occasions such as these, you know she'll live a life of no limits.

Barriers are to soar over, obstacles to be 'grinded' into submission, rails to be leapt.

She is already thinking about the next Games in Paris, where she is considering a bid for a surfing and skateboarding double.

Her dad raised an eyebrow as she vowed she was 'going to definitely try surfing' - you sense this talented teen is somewhat of an unstoppable force.

"It'll be up to her by then, she'll be 16 and it's hard enough now," he said.

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting