At 13, Olympic medalist Sky Brown admits she still gets scared on the skateboard and shares how she overcomes her fear

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At 13, Olympic medalist Sky Brown admits she still gets scared on the skateboard and shares how she overcomes her fear
Brown has been skateboarding since before she can even remember. Jordan Haggard
  • Sky Brown won third in women's park skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympic Games in August.
  • At 13, the professional skateboarder is Great Britain's youngest Olympic medalist ever.
  • She told Insider that she still gets scared skating, but she faces her fears by focusing on landing.

Sky Brown said she doesn't remember the moment she first picked up a skateboard at the age of 2.

Eleven years later, she's a professional skateboarder and one of the youngest Olympic medalists in the world.

The Clif Kid partner told Insider she "just wanted to skate everywhere" as a young child. "I was stealing my dad's board," she said of her first years skating. "It was just a toy to me, my favorite toy."

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In August, Brown, 13, placed third in Women's Park Skateboarding at the 2020 Tokyo Games, making history as Great Britain's youngest Olympic medalist.

At 13, Olympic medalist Sky Brown admits she still gets scared on the skateboard and shares how she overcomes her fear
Sky Brown of Great Britain competes in the final of the Women's Park Skateboarding on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Urban Sports Park on August 04, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Brown said she still gets scared on the board all the time, but picturing herself landing tricks keeps her going.

"I like the feeling of doing something you worked hard for and that you were really scared to do," she said.

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When she catches the fear creeping in, Brown said she focuses on that feeling of success she knows is coming. She calls it "beating herself."

"I tell myself I got it. I picture landing the trick in my head," Brown said. "When you land a trick that you're really scared of, you feel like you can do anything."

At 13, Olympic medalist Sky Brown admits she still gets scared on the skateboard and shares how she overcomes her fear
Sky reacts to landing tricks at the Olympics Jean Catuffe/Getty Images, MacNicol/Getty Images

Competing in the Olympics was Brown's goal for a long time, she said, adding that she misses her time at the 2020 Games and hopes to participate again.

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At the same time, Brown said she wants to travel the world teaching underprivileged kids how to skate.

"When you teach someone a new trick, it feels like almost it's like you landed a new trick," she said.

Brown said she's already taught skateboarders in a number of countries, from Japan to Cambodia. New skaters are often afraid to drop into a bowl, Brown said, adding that she helps them face their fears the same way she faces her own.

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"I think dropping in for the first time going in the bowl is always scary," Brown said. "But I tell them, 'just try your absolute best and see what happens.' And they usually get it."

At 13, Olympic medalist Sky Brown admits she still gets scared on the skateboard and shares how she overcomes her fear
Sky Brown (L) and her brother Ocean (R) show their skateboarding skills on the half-pipe at a park in Kijo town, Miyazaki in 2018. BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Brown's younger brother, Ocean, 10, is a skateboarder, too, she said, adding that she doesn't know if she'd be as good if he wasn't around.

"He really pushes me. I'm very competitive with my brother," Brown said. "He does a trick, and I'm like,' I can do that too.'"

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Ultimately, Brown said, anyone can do it.

"That's what's cool about skateboarding - you don't have to be any age or gender and you don't have to be big or small," she said. "Just stay with it and take it slow."

At 13, Olympic medalist Sky Brown admits she still gets scared on the skateboard and shares how she overcomes her fear
Brown gets air while skating a bowl. Jordan Haggard

If you're trying skateboarding for the first time, Brown recommends spending your first day just getting used to the feeling of pushing and rolling on the board.

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"Take your time," she advises. "There's no rush."

And if you want to hype yourself up like Brown, queue "Good 4 U" by Olivia Rodrigo - her go-to song right now.

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