Olympic skateboarding: ‘Fearless’ teen Bombette Martin seeks ‘dream’ Tokyo place

Date: 11 April Conference location: Graystone Action Sports Academy, Salford
Cover: Red Button, iPlayer and the BBC Sports website 6:00 p.m.-9:45 p.m. BST

“Why are teenagers so good at skateboarding? Well, I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” says 14-year-old Bombette Martin before bursting out laughing.

The bubbly, American-born Brit joked, but perhaps makes an important point as only three of the top ten park skaters in the world are over 20 years old.

Misugu Okamoto of Japan was only 13 years old when she took the world title in 2019 while Britain’s Sky Brown claimed bronze At the age of 11, Martin is one of a larger group of talented young skaters eager to show off their talents in the sport’s Olympic debut this summer.

“Small children are just fearless and when you are closer to the ground it hurts less if you fall,” says Martin, who started skateboarding at the age of nine.

“It’s great that so many of my competitors are teenagers and that I can compete against people my age because it’s a really close community where everyone is so supportive.”

Bombette MartinBombette Martin started skating at the age of nine and “dreams” of going to the Olympics

The sporting success lies in the Martin family. Nicknamed “Bomber” who inspired his daughter’s name, Bombette, her father, Jon, has fought over 100 amateur boxing matches during his career.

The multiple Midland Counties boxing champion trained at his father’s Rose & Crown Gym in Erdington, Birmingham before moving to New York in the 1990s and meeting his partner Mary in 2001.

Bombette Martin was born in downtown Manhattan in 2006, but there was only one nation she wanted to apply for.

“I spent much of my childhood in Birmingham and my first thought was to compete for Great Britain. When they invited me to fight for them.” [2019] World championships just became a reality and it didn’t really cross my mind to go to America, “she tells BBC Sport.

Her father narrowly missed Team GB’s roster for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but Martin hopes to take a step towards the Games themselves this weekend via the Salford National Skateboarding Championships.

She currently ranks 28th in the Olympic rankings and must reach the top 20 by the end of the qualification period on June 29th.

A Sunday podium will keep them competing, but May’s Dew Tour will ultimately be key to their chances of joining Brown on Team GB’s women’s skateboarding roster for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

“This time I’m not going to win an Olympic medal – this is for girls like Sky and I really hope she gets one – but I would really feel like ‘Wow, I really achieved something’ to get there myself.” She says.

“It’s my biggest dream to say that I went to the Olympics and I want to get this bad.”

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