The Sky is the limit for skateboarding after Olympic debut in Tokyo: 13-year-old British star Brown is driving the new craze, with skateparks that are more vibrant than ever before
As the Sky Brown effect spreading across the UK’s skate parks emerges, former leading British skateboarder Lucy Adams grins.
She’s been there, has the T-shirt. Skate parks were never really seen as places for girls. Adams would rock out to the parks in her youth—sometimes as the only woman—ignoring the doubters. When she grows up, her ambition is to ensure that the next generation of girls does not face the same obstacles. She started out in Brighton giving women-only sessions at her She Shredders club.
Now, the 37-year-old is eager to take advantage of a groundbreaking Olympics for the sport led by a 13-year-old who splits her time between California and Tokyo. “There has been a phenomenal reception for Sky Brown,” she told Sportsmail. She and (fellow Brit) Bombette Martin have had a phenomenal impact. Both have taken part in our national competitions here and they aroused real interest. Sky was doing a girls night here at the Graystone skate park and it was packed to the brim with different girls of all ages and guys. We heard from stores that they were selling more setups and safety gear, helmets and pads to women and girls than ever before.
The Sky Brown effect is in full swing, with a 13-year-old sparking huge interest in skateboarding
‘I work with a skate park in Nottingham and they had some data – in one of the age group sessions there were about 10-14 more girls than boys. I thought, “Okay, cool”.
“I was in the area that day and went to the session – which was dominated by 12- to 14-year-old girls. We definitely see that Sky Brown effect. Some of them even say we’ve seen Sky and we want to be just like Sky.’
Brown became Team GB’s youngest ever Summer Medalist when she won bronze in the women’s skateboarding category in Tokyo.
“She’s incredibly young, but she’s gone through this rapid development,” Adams explains.
“She can pull off a new trick so quickly. Her first time is an attempt, the second time is dedication and the third is roll away and land. For anyone who breaks it down, 50 tries of almost but not putting your foot on it, not actually committing because you’re afraid of falling, but with Sky it’s so fast and amazing to watch.”
The skating sensation became Britain’s youngest ever Olympic medalist in Tokyo
Brown suffered a fractured skull and broken hand and wrist last year after a ‘horrific’ fall during training. Adams believes her response was telling. “That’s phenomenal resilience in how she was able to get back on her feet after the injury and the dent in her confidence,” she says. “Other people think, ‘I need to slowly build up again after being in the hospital for so long.’ And she’s able to go out again and pick up where she left off.”
Adams started She Shredders, which she ran until 2018, to empower the next generation of female skaters.
“Growing up in the skate park, it was very male-dominated,” she says. “They were mostly teenage boys, so the environment was quite intimidating. They were girls and women learning a skill in a place they thought wasn’t for them. I felt like if there was a space carved out for other like-minded people, I’d feel like I got when I went to similar places and said, “There’s a lot more girls out there, this is so cool”. And then it would probably create a scene.”
Adams’ message to those who want to follow in Brown’s footsteps is clear.
“My number 1 piece of advice would be that everyone falls – even if we’re good at skateboarding, we’ll still fail and get up, so don’t think you’re the only one who falls at the skate park,” she adds. ‘If you feel like going, you can borrow equipment or buy cheap used equipment.
“All you need is a flat, smooth surface, which can be a parking lot in the evening where it’s quiet and you can learn the skills yourself.”
Former leading British skateboarder Lucy Adams is eager to capitalize on a groundbreaking Olympics for the sport led by 13-year-old