Skateboard star Sky Brown makes history for Britain with Tokyo bronze at age 13 – but EVEN YOUNGER Japanese rival finishes higher
Skateboard starlet Sky Brown made history as Great Britain’s youngest-ever Olympic medalist by clinching bronze in Tokyo, but remarkably was not the most youthful face on the podium as 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki won silver.
Having suffered spills in her opening two runs of Wednesday’s women’s park final in stifling heat and humidity, Brown nailed her last attempt with a score of 56.47, which was good enough to see her finish third.
At just 13 years and 28 days old, Brown became Britain’s youngest-ever Olympic medalist, beating the previous holder of the accolade, swimmer Sarah Hardcastle, who won silver and bronze in Los Angeles in 1984 when aged 15 years and 113 days.
Incredibly though, Brown was not the youngest skater to grace the podium at the Ariake Urban Park.
The gold medal was scooped by 19-year-old Japanese star Sakura Yosozumi while her compatriot Hiraki claimed silver at the age of just 12 years and 343 days old.
With the feat, Hiraki became the first Olympic athlete to clinch a medal before turning 13 since France’s Noel Vandernotte won a rowing bronze in 1936, and also saw her become Japan’s youngest-ever Olympian on record.
The make-up of the podium continued the Olympic hosts' dominance of the skate events, after Momiji Nishiya claimed gold in last week’s street competition at the age of 13, making her Japan's youngest-ever Olympic champion.
Brown, however, was delighted to book a spot behind her Japanese rivals on the podium on Wednesday.
“It was a super sick final. All the girls were ripping it, it was insane,” the youngster told BBC Sport.
“It feels unreal! I'm so happy to be here – I'm blessed. I was definitely bumped. I fell twice, that made the last run feel even better.”
Brown’s medal is made all the more remarkable by the horror injury she endured last May when she fractured her skull, broke her left arm and wrist, and suffered lacerations to her heart and lungs.
The damage was described as “life-threatening” by some, but the delay to the Tokyo Games allowed her a chance to recover and go on to etch her name into the history books.
Brown represents Team GB but was born in Miyazaki, Japan, to a Japanese mother and British father.
A viral skateboard sensation since the age of four, Brown counts Tony Hawk as among her mentors – with the US skateboard icon describing her as "a unicorn".
She went professional at the age of 10, pledging her allegiances to Team GB in 2018.
The youngster splits her time between Miyazaki and California, fitting in her schooling around training and competition.
Boasting a deal with US sportswear giants Nike, Brown was also the winner of popular American show ‘Dancing with the Stars: Junior’.