British skateboarders have spoken of their hope that teenager Sky Brown’s Olympic medal success will lead to a fresh boom in the sport.
Just 28 days after her 13th birthday, Brown became Great Britain’s youngest medallist of all time when she won bronze in the women’s park skateboarding final in the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday morning.
After falling in her first two runs of the final, the 13-year-old nailed her last attempt with a score of 56.47 to finish behind Japanese pair Sakura Yosozumi and Kokona Hiraki.
Lucy Adams, a professional skater who is Skateboard GB’s progression project lead, told the PA news agency: “I’m absolutely stoked for her and her phenomenal performance today. She absolutely smashed it. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
“This is a catalyst for another boom in the sport.”
Ms Adams, who was behind the move to bring Brown on to Team GB, said she spotted her talent early on.
She said: “I saw her when she eight, nine years old. She actually came over here and competed in a competition we had over here and literally just blew me away with one of the technical tricks she did on a ramp that was like twice the size of her, and we just formed a relationship back then and we kept in touch.
“This was way before skateboarding was announced for the Olympics and when we got that announcement, we just had a conversation between Stu (Sky’s dad) and Sky about the potential to give it a go.
“Knowing that she was so young and not wanting to put any pressure on any sort of specific expectations, and just say if you want to take part, go for it and have fun. If you don’t feel comfortable, there are no expectations from us.”
James Hope-Gill, chief executive of Skateboard GB, who is responsible for creating the strategy for supporting UK skateboarding for the next 12 years, said he hoped the result would raise skateboarding’s profile and lead to more funding and also boost its “credibility”.
He said: “Hopefully investment will increase. We’ve had some really generous investment from the lottery and UK Sport. There’s about 1,700 skate parks in the UK, and the lottery have been brilliant in funding some of those.
“What we need now is an indoor international facility… to really help our talented skaters to reach their potential.
“A lot of people think skateboarding is just kids messing around on the street, causing a bit of a nuisance. Skateboarding is so much more than that.
“The great thing about skateboarding is that it’s so accessible. You literally need a board and you can skate on the street, anywhere there’s a bit of concrete.
Skaters Lola Tambling and Miriam Nelson, both 13, said watching Brown and her fellow Team GB skater Bombette Martin compete has inspired them aim to take part in the Games.
Lola, who has skated since the age of eight and whose parents own an indoor skate park, said: “(Sky’s medal) was great, it’s amazing. It was very intense watching it, but when she managed to pull off the third round, it was a relief and we were all stoked for her.”
Miriam, who has been skating for four years, said: “It was amazing because she and Bombette have been working so hard for it and the hard work paid off.”