In the U.S. alone, there are roughly 6.8 million bones broken annually, many of which are sports-related. One sport that often results in fractures is skateboarding.
Brighton Zeuner, a 12-year-old from Encinitas, CA, hasn’t broken any broken bones, but she <emhas broken some barriers. Zeuner is the youngest female athlete ever to be invited to compete in the X-Games, and the fourth youngest competitor overall.
Standing at just 4’8″ with a mouth full of braces, Zeuner certainly looks younger than her competitors, but she’s proven herself worthy of her place among them on multiple occasions.
At 11 years old, she placed fourth in the women’s skateboard park behind Kisa Nakamura, 16; Lizzie Armanto, 23; and Jordyn Barratt, 17.
Before Zeuner started competing against these women, they were her role models. Now, they are her peers.
“I feel like they kind of treat me like a younger sister,” said Zeuner. “We skate together and I love hanging out with them.”
The skater got her start when she would go watch her brother Jack at the local skate park, but she quickly became bored with simply watching.
Zeuner’s Christmas wish that year was a board of her own. Since then, she’s risen to the top as one of the best female skaters in the world.
“She’s insane,” said her brother, Jack. “She’ll learn a new trick every other day.”
Zeuner, who won the 2016 Vans Park Series World Championship at Malmö, Sweden this past August, skates on the ramp in her backyard every day before school, and goes to her local park in the afternoons. She is homeschooled twice per week to manage her schedule, which usually revolves around what competition she has coming up. But she says that her training isn’t forced.
“I just have fun and work on new stuff,” she said.
While skateboarding has been mostly a male-dominated sport, the park that Zeuner goes to is filled with mostly girls, which she loves.
Women of all ages are revolutionizing the sport, and changing how most people view it. While it can be dangerous, that should not deter anyone, regardless of gender.
Skateboarding will be an Olympic sport in the upcoming 2020 games in Tokyo, and Zeuner has her sights set on the Olympic stage.
“It’s a huge deal for skateboarding as a sport,” she says, as skateboarding has never before appeared in an international competition larger than the X-Games. An Olympic-worthy status asserts its legitimacy, which is exciting for all skaters.