The fact that rising-star Australian skateboarder Chloe Covell is achieving the level of success she is at just 14 years old isn’t what sets her apart. The women’s side of competitive skateboarding is a youth movement—the average age of the women’s street medalists at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 was 14.

No, what makes Covell exceptional is just how quickly she’s risen to the top of her discipline. Covell only picked up a board about seven years ago—inspired by watching her favorite skateboarder, Nyjah Huston, and mentored by Plan B pro and fellow Aussie Tommy Fynn.

In April 2022, Covell burst onto the scene with a bronze-medal finish at X Games Chiba, followed up by a seventh-place finish in her World Skate debut at World Street Skateboarding Rome in July 2022.

In 2023, Covell proved that she was here to stay and reshape the top tier of women’s street skateboarding with a pair of second-place finishes at the Street World Championships Sharjah in February and the Rome World Skateboarding Tour Street stop in June.

Covell made history in July 2023 as the youngest women’s street gold medalist in X Games history. She had already been the youngest athlete to win two X Games medals before the age of 13.

Covell is currently ranked fourth in the world among women’s street skaters and is the top Australian, putting her in excellent position to make the Australian Olympic skateboarding team ahead of the Paris Games this summer.

And in the coming days, Covell will have her best chance to punch her ticket to Paris at the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS) in Shanghai, China, May 16–19.

New this Olympic cycle, the two-part OQS (the second stop will be held in Budapest, Hungary from June 20–23) will determine which athletes qualify for Paris 2024 in breaking, BMX freestyle, skateboarding and sport climbing. There are 88 skateboarding quotas up for grabs.

The teenager is just trying to take it all in stride.

“It’s pretty cool because when I started skating, I was doing it for fun, and I got better and better,” Covell told me by phone, taking a break from a training session with sponsor Red Bull.

“In my first ever pro comp, I got on the podium. I got third place, and I got invited to more and more comps. I’m not really a new one anymore, which is kind of cool. It’s really cool to have people look up to me and be the one to beat sometimes.”

Ahead of Shanghai, Covell, whose proficiency in switch tricks sets her apart from the rest of the field, is focusing on adding a few more technical tricks to her run, especially on the stairs.

“I feel like all the skaters have very a different bag of tricks,” Covell said. “People are doing kickflips down rails, switch flips down stair sets—all the girls just keep working on tricks. We are already pushing women’s skating to the limit; we can just push it even more.”

Australia is the nation with the highest representation in skateboarding at the OQS. In addition to Covell, women competing in street include Liv Lovelace, Haylie Powell and Felicity Turner. In park, Ruby Trew, Arisa Trew, Poppy Olsen, Charlotte Heath, Aaliyah Wilson and Coco Crafter will compete for points.

Nine Aussie men will compete in street (Shane O’Neill, Rome Collyer, Tommy Fynn) and park (Kieran Woolley, Keegan Palmer, Keefer Wilson, Ash Wilcomes, Ethan Copeland, Phoenix Sinnerton) in Shanghai as well.

The Olympic skateboarding qualification period ends on June 23, 2024, and national teams will be announced shortly thereafter.

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