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Shutterstock.com (sky background); Paul Cooper/Contour by Getty Images (Sky smiling); Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images (Sky white helmet)

Reaching New Heights

A young skateboarding star talks about her favorite sport and her dreams for the future.

As You Read, Think About: What are some adjectives you would use to describe Sky Brown?

Jonny Weeks/Guardian/eyevine/Redux

At a California skate park, 11-year-old Sky Brown zips back and forth across a U-shaped ramp. Suddenly, she launches herself into the air from the top of the ramp. She clutches the skateboard under her feet with her left hand and spins around one-and-a-half times. Then she lands gracefully back on the concrete ramp. 

That trick, known as a frontside 540, is one of the most challenging stunts in skateboarding. But Sky makes it look easy. Though she’s still in middle school, the young phenom is one of the top skaters in the world—and she has big plans for her future.

Eleven-year-old Sky Brown zips back and forth across a U-shaped ramp. She is at a skate park in California. Suddenly, she launches herself into the air from the top of the ramp. She clutches the skateboard under her feet with her left hand and spins around one-and-a-half times. Then she lands gracefully back on the concrete ramp.

That trick is known as a frontside 540. It is one of the most challenging stunts in skateboarding. But Sky makes it look easy. She’s still in middle school. But the young phenom is one of the top skaters in the world. And she has big plans for her future.

Born to Skate

Sky’s dad is from Great Britain and her mom is from Japan, so Sky is a citizen of both countries. She was born in Japan, where she started learning to skateboard when she was just 2 years old. She didn’t have to go far—her family had a small skating ramp in the yard.

“My dad was always skating, and I wanted to get on a board just like him!” Sky says. “I’m sure I fell a lot in the beginning.”

Before long, it was clear that Sky had incredible talent. When she was 7, she began skating in competitions that have taken her around the world. At these events, skaters are given scores based on the difficulty and number of tricks they complete.

Last September, Sky wowed the crowds—and the judges—at the Skateboarding World Championships in Brazil. She won a bronze medal, finishing ahead of many skaters who were much older than she is.

Sky’s dad is from Great Britain, and her mom is from Japan. That means Sky is a citizen of both countries. She was born in Japan, where she started learning to skateboard when she was just 2 years old. She didn’t have to go far. Her family had a small skating ramp in the yard.

“My dad was always skating, and I wanted to get on a board just like him!” Sky says. “I’m sure I fell a lot in the beginning.”

Before long, it was clear that Sky had incredible talent. When she was 7, she began skating in competitions. They have taken her around the world. At these events, skaters are given scores based on the difficulty and number of tricks they complete.

Last September, Sky wowed the crowds at the Skateboarding World Championships in Brazil. She also wowed the judges. Sky won a bronze medal. She finished ahead of many skaters who were much older than she is.

For the Fun of It

Jonny Weeks/Guardian/eyevine/Redux

Sky now lives in California, where she trains every day. She watches YouTube videos to learn new tricks, then spends hours perfecting them at local skate parks. But training doesn’t seem like work to her. It’s more like playing.

“At the end of the day, I just want to have fun,” Sky says.

Her schedule leaves plenty of time for everyday kid stuff. Ordinarily, Sky goes to school two days a week and studies online the other days. She hangs out with friends and plays video games with her 8-year-old brother, Ocean.

Sky also manages to squeeze in time for her other favorite sport, surfing. Most days, she gets up at 5 a.m. to put on her wet suit and ride the waves. She says that balancing on her surfboard makes her an even better skater.

Sky has also shown some fancy footwork on the dance floor. In 2018, she was crowned champion on the TV series Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.

Sky now lives in California, where she trains every day. She watches YouTube videos to learn new tricks. Then she spends hours perfecting them at local skate parks. But training doesn’t seem like work to her. It’s more like playing.

“At the end of the day, I just want to have fun,” Sky says.

Her schedule leaves plenty of time for everyday kid stuff. Ordinarily, Sky goes to school two days a week and studies online the other days. She hangs out with friends. She also plays video games with her 8-year-old brother, Ocean.

Sky also manages to squeeze in time for her other favorite sport, surfing. Most days, she gets up at 5 a.m. She puts on her wet suit and then goes to ride the waves. She says that balancing on her surfboard makes her an even better skater.

Sky has also shown some fancy footwork on the dance floor. In 2018, she was crowned champion on the TV series Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.

Olympic Dreams

Sky spent much of the past year working to qualify for one of the world’s biggest sporting events: the Summer Olympics. She planned to represent her dad’s home country, Great Britain. But unfortunately, the Games were postponed (see “Olympics on Hold”).

Sky won’t let the delay stop her. She plans to spend the coming months sharpening her skating skills. She’s looking forward to becoming the youngest summer Olympian in British history—even if that happens a year later than expected. And she encourages other kids to keep reaching for their own goals. “The sky’s the limit,” she says. “Chase your dreams!”

Sky spent much of the past year working to qualify for the Summer Olympics. It is one of the world’s biggest sporting events. She planned to represent her dad’s home country, Great Britain. But unfortunately, the Games were postponed (see “Olympics on Hold”).

Sky won’t let the delay stop her. She plans to spend the coming months sharpening her skating skills. She’s looking forward to becoming the youngest summer Olympian in British history. She doesn’t mind if that happens a year later than expected.

Also, she encourages other kids to keep reaching for their own goals. “The sky’s the limit,” she says. “Chase your dreams!”

1. Why does the author refer to Sky as a phenom?

2. What is the section “Born to Skate” mostly about?

3. What is the purpose of the sidebar “Olympics on Hold”?

1. Why does the author refer to Sky as a phenom?

2. What is the section “Born to Skate” mostly about?

3. What is the purpose of the sidebar “Olympics on Hold”?

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