Following the olympics, I have been reinvigorated by the Female Force that showed up and showed off in the skating events. For a sport that has not been deeply rooted in Olympic History, the comradely and skate culture exhibited by the athletes and throughout the competition ran thick. While sitting on the couch in my sweatpants, the commentators introduced 13-year old Sky Brown, and I have never felt more simultaneously inadequate (for my age) and impressed. It is very rare that I watch something for the fist time and am immediately certain I will be a life-long fan, but her bravery and athleticism was nothing less of inspirational.
Upon further investigation, I learned that she is not only the youngest professional skateboarder in the world (male or female), but she is the youngest athlete ever to compete in an olympics, and is a former winner of dancing with the stars junior (the last part isn’t super relevant, but its a fun fact nonetheless). She does not have a coach, instead she is self taught and picks up new tricks from YouTube and other online platforms. In 2020 she she suffered a substantial fall which left her with several skull fractures and a broken left wrist and hand. Still, she came back in 2021 to win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was also in the running to qualify for GB’s surfing team. Already at the age of 13 she is representing Great Britain, Japan, and female empowerment (she even wrote a song about it).
I look at all that she has accomplished and am reminded what tenacity and commitment can get you. It has also taught me how important it is to share and nurture your innate gifts. Even with my best foot forward, with all of my might, it would not have been in the cards for me to be a skateboarding prodigy at the age of 13. Frankly, it isn’t in the cards for most of us. However, one of my natural gifts is compassion, which I exercise in my fight to protect the ocean. While there are no olympic medals in ocean stewardship, and while I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, I aim to channel my inner Sky Brown and never back down from its challenges. I hope, after reading this, you are inspired to put your best foot forward and do that same.