Australia’s freshest street skateboarding prospect Chloe Covell is here to shred

Australia’s freshest street skateboarding prospect Chloe Covell is here to shred

“I got a selfie with him,” Chloe Covell says, smiling just enough to hide her shyness: “I was nervous to ask.”

Sitting in the shade away from the baking heat of the Roman sun at World Skate’s first Olympic qualifier, 13-year-old Covell describes an earlier chance encounter with legendary street skateboarder Nyjah Huston.

It’s no secret that athletes admire each other’s talent, but the American is more than just an idol for the young Australian. He was the reason she first picked up a plate:

“I just saw him skating. The stunts he did were so cool and he just did it so easily,” says Covell, recalling how she first leaned on him when she was six years old watching X Games with her father.

“So, I got into it. And then it wasn’t easy, but it gets better.”

Covell takes a fast track to success

‘Getting better’ is one way to describe Covell’s recent progress through the street skateboarding ranks.

Exponential is another.

Despite arriving in Italy as one of the youngest participants in the women’s competition, there were already some expectations surrounding the skater. Just two months earlier, she had won bronze as a rookie at the X Games Chiba.

Her style and ability to skate, which she adapted in Japan to the amazement of both the judges and her competitors, had a similar effect on the onlookers gathered in the hilltop park across from Rome’s Colosseum for the Paris 2024 qualifier has.

Covell cruised through the rounds in Rome and then earned herself a spot in a back-to-back eight with all three Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalists. She finished her first Olympic test in seventh place, showing that her X Games medal was no fluke.

“When she goes to a competition, she just thrives even more,” said skateboarding coach and mentor Tommy Fynn, discussing Covell’s progress.

Australian skater Fynn, who also competed in the men’s competition in Rome, has been working with the teenager for the past two years and spoke of her remarkable ability to perform to match those around her:

“Watching her get that (X Games) bronze medal, man, I seriously had tears in my eyes. I was so proud of her. I could not believe it. She is progressing just as fast. And how she handled the whole thing, just with such ease. She has such a cool style and she’s just having fun too. She just kills it.”

Since Rome, Covell has racked up more awards.

At Summer X Games, the New South Wales native won another silver to become the first athlete to achieve two podium finishes before the age of 13.

A week later, she achieved another record-breaking performance, finishing third at Dew Tour Des Moines to become the youngest skater in the competition’s history to reach the podium.

Her impressive string of results earned her a wildcard entry into the invitation-only Street League Skateboarding Competition. And with the same cool head she’s shown all year, she finished second behind Olympic silver medalist Rayssa Leal in her Las Vegas debut.

Like her coach Fynn, Covell believes rubbing shoulders with the top female skaters helped her take her big leap forward:

“I started competing at maybe eight years old, eight or nine. At first, like my very first competition, I was so scared. But it’s getting easier now that I know a lot more people. They are all so funny, very nice and rip skaters. They definitely push me to get better.”

How Chloe Covell viewed skateboarding’s Olympic debut

Between international skateboarding events, filming parts and practicing, Covell also plays soccer.

Asked if she’s as good with a ball as she is on a plate, she confidently replies: “I’m in the under 13 National Premier League team,” before adding with a smile, “So yes.”

Skateboarding, soccer and school mean Covell is on a tight schedule. And that’s why, she admits, she had to slip away from one to watch skateboarding’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, in 2021:

“I actually left school early so I could watch it. But it was worth it: it was cool.”

The Paris 2024 Olympics is very much in Covell’s sights and she will hope to take a step closer to that goal at the Street World Championships in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates starting on January 29.

Having now achieved several podiums in street skating’s top events, Covell will be expected to perform well at the qualifiers in the Middle East.

And she will hope to continue her rapid ascent to the top of her sport.

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