Podcast Podcast, Season 2, Episode 11: The moment Sky Brown became Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist

7 min

The skateboarding prodigy relives her incredible Bronze medal winning run at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

There are moments when time stands still. Moments where you find yourself on the verge of greatness. Moments that stand the test of time. The Edge is a series of conversations where extraordinary people tell intimate stories of one moment that changed everything for them. A world record, a world championship, an epiphany, a life-changing decision. They relive their moments, minute by minute. How they overcame pressure, fear, pain and pushed themselves to the limit. To The Edge.

Our guest this time is skateboarder, surfer and Olympic medallist Sky Brown. Sky is only 14 years old, and her list of achievements is already remarkable. In the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sky seized the Bronze medal in the park event, making her Great Britain’s youngest ever medallist. Sky also took Gold at the Prestigious X Games. Twice. Her talents don’t stop there. She is a skilled surfer, and is considering competing with the GB Olympic Team. 

Over the past two years, Sky has skateboarded to all kinds of new heights. She won the 2021 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award – and quickly followed that up by winning 2022’s Comeback of the Year Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards. In this episode, Sky talks about her love for skateboarding, her winning moment at the Olympics, and how she’s preparing for future challenges. Presented by your host Teo Van Den Broeke, you’ll discover how this prodigy is defying all expectations.

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Attention: Only have a minute?

Here are a few snippets to put you on the starting line and get the adrenaline pumping. But don’t forget to subscribe to our Podcast so you can listen to the full, unfiltered episode later. The Edge is a series of conversations with extraordinary people operating at the edge of possibility. It’s about the thin line between taking part and tipping into victory; it’s about what gives us our edge and what we can do to go beyond it.

The joys of skateboarding

There is this really cool feeling when you’re on it, when you’re on this board. You’re on it, you can do anything you want. There are no rules to it. There’s no limit. You just go on, get speed and go high. It’s just such a fun thing you can do anywhere. And yeah, it’s amazing.

On whether skateboarding has an age limit

It takes a lot of commitment going high, like you don’t know what’s going to happen. You honestly don’t know what’s going to happen when you’re going to land. So it takes a lot of commitment and bravery. I don’t think you have to start young, and there’s a lot of amazing skaters that started later. And there are a lot of old skaters right now too. It’s all about being brave, being confident and putting time into it. It’s hard, you can’t learn it fast. You have to take baby steps and take it slow. But I definitely think anyone can learn at any age, so there’s really no limit for it.

On her Olympics experience

The day of the Olympics was very crazy. I remember going up to the park in the morning, practicing with everyone, we were all getting nervous, but really excited. It was definitely nerve wracking, but it was also so sick. Being with my really good friends, skating with them, being in the Olympics with them, and getting on the podium with them was amazing. I remember getting ready in the morning and just talking about it and thinking about it the whole time. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it! I’m here.’

The challenges Sky faced

I fell twice. And that was very hard because when you’ve got three runs, and when you fall on your first two, and you have one more run left…if you fall again, then it’s like, ‘Oh, I have one more chance left’. My dad said, ‘You got it. No contest will define you.’ That really just gave me a boost. Then I went in for my last run. It made it feel so much better, landing the last one after falling twice.

It’s like a flowy dance

I really get quite nervous, because you don’t know where you’re going to mess up. But when you’re in the bowl, it’s just…you’re skating. It feels like you’re just getting into a park alone. You’re in the zone. I just go up to the wire and I already know what I’m doing because I’ve done that run many times. I know what I’m doing and I just trust that. I just let the board take me and let the bowl take me. It’s really like a dance, you do these bunch of tricks and they look like pretty moves and, it’s just like a flowy dance. That’s how I like to explain it.

The moment she took Bronze

I didn’t really know if I had won the Bronze yet. After I did my run, I was ready for the score and then the score came, and then I went up to third. I also had this other girl behind me. She is amazing! So good. And if she had landed her run, I don’t know what would have happened. She fell in her trick, and that was when I realized I’d won. That was crazy too. But I felt so bad for the girl, she went to fourth. And I felt really bad for her. But I was so stoked at the same time. 

When I got on the podium, I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was a dream. I remember jumping onto my dad. We were both crying, the people on the podium were all crying. It was an amazing moment and the best feeling ever. And I want to feel that again. That feeling when you realize you’re on the podium, after a good run…oh, it’s the best feeling! You definitely want to keep doing that. It’s like learning a new trick. That’s the way I want to feel.

How does it feel to be the youngest?

It’s obviously so fun for me because I get to show off a little and show them what’s up! I don’t know, I like being the little one, it makes me want to prove to them that I got it, you know?

A word of advice to other youngsters and female athletes

Advice I’d give to young athletes is: it’s a long journey, don’t rush it. Take baby steps and enjoy it. Really just try to enjoy the journey because it is a fun one. And it’s long sometimes but it’s the best part, the journey. And just enjoy that and never give up. To female athletes, my advice would be, you’re probably like ‘Uh…what am I doing here? All the boys are out there and I don’t belong here.’ But you know, why do boys get to have all the fun? You just gotta get out there and show them what’s up, and show them that the girls have got it. Just get out there, don’t let anyone stop you. Don’t let them underestimate you. Go out and prove them wrong.