A “Dancing With the Stars” Mirrorball champion has another trophy to add to her mantle — Sky Brown now has an Olympic medal. Here’s how her journey unfolded.
Brown Skateboards for Great Britain
Brown is a British-Japanese skateboarder — her father is British and her mother is Japanese. But her father lived in the United States for a while before moving to Japan and now the family splits its time between Japan and the U.S.
However, because of her dual citizenship due to her parents’ countries of birth, she could have chosen to represent either Japan or Great Britain in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. She chose Great Britain because she likes the British Skateboarding Association’s more relaxed approach to training and competitions.
“The British Skateboarding Association, they told me, ‘No pressure, just have fun and get out there.’ So that’s why I chose England,” Brown told the BBC in an interview ahead of the Olympics.
When she won the bronze in the women’s park skateboarding final, she became the youngest person ever to medal in the Olympics for Great Britain. Skateboarding was one of five new sports added to the Summer Olympics for 2020 (which became 2021 after they were delayed due to the pandemic) and it’s not a huge surprise to see Brown on the podium. Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk once told ESPN she’s one of the best he’s ever seen regardless of gender.
“She has incredible potential. She could definitely be one of the best female skaters ever, if not one of the best, well-rounded skaters ever, regardless of gender. She has such confidence, such force, even at such a young age. The way she’s able to learn new tricks and the way she absorbs direction, it’s so rare,” said Hawk, adding, “She’s a unicorn.”
It is remarkable that she came back to compete at all after a terrible fall in 2020 during a training run left her with a skull fracture and broken bones in her left wrist and hand, despite wearing a helmet and protective gear.
“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do, but this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that I’m OK,” Brown said in a video posted to YouTube. “I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now and I want everyone to know that whatever we do we’ve got to do it with love and happiness.”
Brown Won the Mirrorball Trophy During ‘Dancing With the Stars: Juniors’ in 2018
In the fall of 2018, ABC debuted “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors,” which paired popular child stars with junior ballroom dancers. The pairs were then mentored by the adult professionals that dance on the original “Dancing With the Stars.”
Brown was paired with dancer JT Church, with Alan Bersten acting as their mentor — and nobody is a bigger cheerleader for Brown than Bersten. When she posted an Instagram photo from Tokyo, Bersten wrote, “You’re gonna kill it!!!”, on another post Bersten wrote, “So proud of you!!! Good luck!”, and on Brown’s recent birthday post, he wrote, “Rooting for you! You supestar!”, to which she replied, “Thank you, Alan, miss you so much.”
In her interview with the BBC, Brown said that part of the reason she is so into skateboarding is that she wants to show people that “girls can do whatever boys can do” and that her young age is just a number.
“I feel like it doesn’t matter how old you are. I’m tiny and I’m going to be in this huge competition! You can do anything, no matter what age you are,” said Brown, adding, “Sometimes I just want to beat myself and I want to do what boys do. Why do boys get to have all the fun? I think girls can do whatever boys can do.”
“Dancing With the Stars” season 30 premieres Monday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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