The youngest X Games champ in history is a Team USA favourite
At first glance, Brighton Zeuner looks like your average teen. She writes in her diary, has a well-stocked makeup collection and occasionally fights with her folks.
But the thirteen-year-old is anything but ordinary. Zeuner’ s also a pro skateboarder and the youngest X Games champ in history.
The Tokyo Games will be the first to feature skateboarding, but Zeuner isn’t scared of uncharted territory.
The park skater went pro at 8 years old and has been smashing records ever since. At 11, she became the youngest female competitor in the X Games, matching the record set by Jagger Eaton.
She captured an international title a year later at the Vans Pro Park Series Championships. The day after her thirteenth birthday, she won her first X Games title.
Zeuner grew up in Encinitas, a town just north of San Diego, California. Both she and her brother Jack picked up skateboarding at a young age, so their parents did what any parents would: They built a 10-foot vert ramp in the backyard.
Although the family recently moved, Zeuner clearly benefited from years of daily practice. She spent hours every day on her backyard halfpipe, where friends like Lizzie Armanto and Tony Hawk have been known to stop by.
When she’s not getting air at the skatepark, Zeuner enjoys penning song lyrics, designing clothes and shoes, writing in her diary and snapping pictures on her Polaroid.
“When I’m not skating I’m a girly girl—but not when I’m skating.”
A few years ago, Zeuner was hanging out with top skaters. Now, she’s become one.
“There’s little kids saying, ‘Oh, I saw you on YouTube.’ It’s kind of crazy for me,” Brighton said after winning her X Games title. “I don’t know. I’m 13, and it’s kind of weird.”
Her popularity has only grown since then.
While Zeuner is a medal contender for the 2020 Games, she’s not the only exceptional skater who will be vying for a spot on Team USA.
Grace Marhoefer, 15, and Jordyn Barratt, 19, are among the States’ top female skaters, as well as older pros like Armanto and Nora Vasconcellos, both 25.
There is also stiff competition on the international scene with the likes of the Australians Poppy Starr Olsen, 17, and Sabre Norris, 13.
Starr is a double world title holder. Norris is one of only three female skaters to successfully perform a 540 McTwist–a trick Zeuner is still trying to master. All three will be competing at this year’s X Games in Minneapolis.
And how about nine-year-old Sky Brown of Japan?
Brown began skateboarding as a toddler, and is aspiring to compete in both the X Games and Olympics. The pint-sized wunderkind has no problem landing complex tricks like the 540 Rodeo Flip and recently start doing jumps off buses.
She took silver in the 2017 Women’s Continental Championships in Singapore.
Skateboarding is one of five sports to make their Olympic debut. Do you know the other four?