AFTER watching an emotional Sky Brown break down in tears after becoming Great Britain's youngest Olympic medal winner of all time – Skateboard GB CEO James Hope-Gill is predicting a boom in the sport, just days after its Olympic debut.
Aged 13 years and 28 days, Brown claimed bronze at the Tokyo Games, replacing Sarah Hardcastle as Britain's youngest summer Games medallist.
As Brown and Bombette Martin made history and broke barriers in a traditionally male dominated sport in Tokyo, they will have helped to inspire the next generation of girls to skate says Hope-Gill.
“I think the Olympics is really important, there’s always been this whole debate about if skateboarding should be in the Olympics or not,” said Hope-Gill.
“The profile will increase, and we’ll have an opportunity to increase participation.
“We’ve had some fantastic investment from The National Lottery for the skaters and in grassroots facilities.
“It will also give the sport some credibility; a lot of people think skateboarding is just kids messing around on the street or being a nuisance but that’s not the case at all.
“Being in the Olympics and Sky winning a medal will hopefully enable us to start talking to local authorities about facilities, participation, and development programmes.”
Skateboarding is doing some fantastic work to get more girls into what has traditionally been seen as a ‘boys’ Sport’, while Team GB Olympians Brown and Martin are flying the flag to get more girls into the sport.
National Lottery players are helping grow skateboarding in the UK by supporting various projects in the skateboarding community, as well as directly investing in the development of 10 skateparks across the country.
And on Wednesday at Hemel Hempstead Skate Park, youngsters from around Hertfordshire came together to try their hand at skate boarding.
Naomi Hicks, Director of Engagement and External Affairs at UK Sport, said: “I think the event we’re hosting with The National Lottery is testament to how much these exciting new sports are growing and inspiring the next generation.
“We’ve already got so many young girls here this morning, we’re talking to them about Sky Brown’s performance this morning and how it’s inspired them to do the same, it’s just absolutely incredible.
“For Sky to go out, aged 13 as the youngest member of the Olympic Team, to step into the bowl like that, pick herself up, keep going and come back with bronze is just amazing.
“I think at UK Sport we’re just so excited about those emerging sports, the climbing, the skateboarding, the surfing, the karate.
“It’s absolutely fair to say that Britain’s success on the global stage of sport is absolutely thanks to the unwavering support of The National Lottery.
“Every time your mum, your dad, your friend goes and buys a ticket from the local shop they are absolutely playing their part in supporting Team GB to go on and achieve that success on the world stage.
“I definitely see the players of The National Lottery as the team behind the team, the support squad who enable us to make all of this happen.”
The Olympic movement has never stood still and Tokyo 2020 is welcoming several new exciting new sports – including skateboarding, climbing, surfing and karate.
And Karate British World Champion Jordan Thomas, who attended The National Lottery event in Hemel Hempstead, has hailed their inclusion on the Olympic programme.
“Karate’s inclusion has been amazing, the Olympic atmosphere and the exposure that karate has got as a discipline has been amazing,” he said.
“The National Lottery has also been amazing, it has provided so many services which help athletes so we can level up.
“It keeps me running when I have my lows because there are services to help pick me up to give me a good run up until competitions but also to help me develop my life outside of sport as well.
“People never used to see these sports as competitive but when people see it on the Olympic stage it brings a whole new world to it where there will be strong role models in the sport.”
The National Lottery are proud to fund and support Skateboard GB. Through playing the National Lottery, you have helped transform the fortunes of Team GB over the past two decades as well as supporting community sport activities. Anyone wishing to get into Skateboarding can download the MySkate App or visit www.skateboardgb.org