Tokyo 2020: Skateboarding and Team GB's 13-year-old star Sky Brown

Sky Brown is at the Olympics aged just 13. Credit: PA

Skateboarding is included in the Olympics for the first time in history at this year's event in Tokyo and Team GB's great hope for the competition is just 13 years old, but is ready to turn a few heads in Japan with her flicks and tricks.

Sky Brown was born in Japan to an English father and Japanese mother, and currently splits her time residing between the country of her birth and the USA where she lived for many years as a young child.

By aged eight in 2016, Brown was already involved in competitive skateboarding, taking part in the Vans US Open.

There is no professional coaching involved for Brown, who learns new tricks from YouTube clips, which she then practises in order to perfect them.

Brown has made waves in the skateboarding world thanks to her skills on the board, even working with the great Tony Hawk.

Sky Brown with the legendary Tony Hawk. Credit: PA

Nike signed Brown up to make her the youngest athlete with a sponsorship deal. As part of her contract she has appeared in adverts with tennis great Serena Williams.

There is no lack of dedication to her sport on Brown's part. When in California, she will awake at 5am in order to go surfing for up to four hours.

After breakfast Brown focuses on school work, before going to the skate park to practice for three hours.

Away from skating she has even appeared on Dancing With The Stars: Juniors in America.

Sky Brown will be looking to prove her skills in Tokyo. Credit: AP

Bombette Martin, who is only 14 herself, will support Brown as Team GB's other competitor in Tokyo.

Despite her lack of years, Brown has needed to bounce back from adversity.

In May 2020 she fell head first from a 4.5m ramp, resulting in multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm and hand, plus lacerations to her heat and lungs.

“I was just skating, like every day, and then I was knocked out. I don’t remember anything about the fall,” Brown told The Guardian. "But apparently when I woke up, I didn’t know who I was or who my family were.”

Fully recovered, Brown will be one of the first skateboarders to take part at an Olympic Games after the sport was selected as an event for the first time.

"I’m not nervous,” Brown said. “I’m just excited to show the world what skateboarding is really like.”

The sport might not be a natural choice for the Games but the Olympics is forever evolving as it looks to incorporate popular sports and help to promote them further.

Sky Brown gives it some air. Credit: AP

There will be two disciplines of the event, Park and Street. The former uses a simple curved bowl for skaters to use, while the latter provides a number of items, such as handrails and benches, to utilise in order to show off tricks.

Judges will base their scores on the skater's speed, difficulty, originality, timing, stability and the overall flow of the performance. 

What other new sports are included?


Two karate disciplines will be contested at the Games: kumite and kata.

Kumite, which is contested over three weight categories for both men and women, is ostensibly the sparring competition.

In Kata, competitors stand alone in the arena and demonstrate a routine of moves picked from the sport’s code, with the winner determined on a points-based system by seven judges.

Both events take place over a conventional format of knockout rounds and repechage.


Climbing’s debut at the Olympics will require athletes to compete over three categories – lead climbing (climbing with a rope and harness), bouldering (unroped scaling of a shorter wall) and speed-climbing (a head-to-head race over knockout rounds) – with the men’s and women’s medals determined by their respective cumulative totals.


Men’s and women’s surfing events will take place at Shidashita Beach. Additional days have been built into the Olympic schedule in case of unsuitable weather.

Athletes will surf in groups of four, with the top two scorers, based on the quality of their manoeuvres, advancing to the next stage.

Surfers will be penalised for failing to follow usual surfing etiquette.