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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The race for Olympic qualification

For Poppy Starr Olsen, skateboarding gives her a “rush all the time”.

The Olympic hopeful is set to represent Australia on the global stage at the 2020 Summer Games as she sits fourth in the world in the battle for qualification.

The top 20 highest-scoring skateboarders will qualify and, while Olsen still has a couple of competitions to go, she boasts more than 55,000 points over competitors ranked outside the top 20.

“My ultimate goal would be to go to this Olympics,” Poppy tells Newcastle Weekly.

“It would be amazing to see how it is – it’s going to be a really interesting new experience for everyone and, just to be able to keep skating for as long as I can, is the main one I think, and having fun along the way,” she says.

“I love my country, I love everything about it, so I am really excited to see if I get that opportunity.

“I think it will be a really cool experience.”

If she qualifies for Tokyo, Poppy will compete in the Women’s Park competition in the first-year skateboarding features as a sport.

This event takes place in a hollowed-out course, which includes a complex set of twists and turns.

“Imagine an empty swimming pool spread out with lots more obstacles,” Poppy says.

“You are judged on speed, the height of your airs coming out of the coping, which is the top part, and then we’ve got your style, difficulty of tricks and the use of the park.

“There are lots of different factors that are involved.” Poppy has been skating since she was eight years old and, since then, it has become one of the most important parts of her life.

“It’s like an outlet and it’s really freeing,” she says.

“You can express yourself in a lot of different ways; it just gives you a rush all the time.

“It is one of the biggest parts, if not the biggest part of my life.”

She won her first competition when she was nine, became an Australian aged champion at 11, and won Bronze at the 2017 X Games.

Poppy is gaining attention from all around the world and, with the potential of representing Australia at the Olympics, she is ready to make history.

The Games will go from 24 July until 9 August. Go to worldskate.org to track Poppy’s qualification.