SHE left behind ballet and tennis lessons, and in just three years Poppy Starr Olsen has taken out an Australian skateboarding title and been invited to compete against the world’s top riders in the United States.
This time next next week 12-year-old Poppy will soar through the air hoping to reach new heights as she competes in an invitation-only international competition in Los Angeles.
Her mother Kate Olsen (nee Thompson) who grew up in Orange, will accompany her daughter.
In Poppy’s early days, however, her mother said she was more of a hinderance than a help while watching her daughter compete.
“I used to scream because I was just so frightened when I saw what she was doing,” she said.
But, after just six months of skating at the landmark bowl on Bondi Beach, Mrs Olsen knew her daughter was completely focused on making skateboarding her passion.
“I can’t believe my daughter would become interested in something like this, but I have come to recognise it is just in her blood and she is just so dedicated to improving her skills. I really admire her commitment,” Mrs Olsen said.
Since taking out her first national title last year at the age of 11, beating some of the nation’s best, Poppy has attacted national sponsorship, which provides her with her skating gear, but Mrs Olsen says her daughter has worked hard to fund her international trip.
“She has developed her own line of skater necklaces and she is a clever artist, which has been recognised by Waverley council,” she said.
“I paint the electricity boxes and I get $450 for each one from the council,” Poppy said.
“I have made quite a few friends from all over Australia since I have been competing.
“I am really looking forward to competing in Los Angeles next week.”
Poppy hones her skills for reaching incredible heights by trampolining.
“I train one afternoon a week at Olympic Park where there is a huge trampoline,” she said.
Poppy says she is very proud to be using her grandmother’s name as part of her public persona in the world of skateboarding.
“My grandma’s name was Starr and so that’s why I use it,”she said.