Mia Brookes Becomes The Youngest Snowboard World Champion

Amanda Salanitri, Staff Writer

16-year-old British snowboarder, Mia Brookes became the youngest ever world champion, on February 27, at The Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships, held in Bakuriani, Georgia. She beat out competitors, including Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott

Prior to her win, Brookes had competed at 3 World Cup Championships, and was too young to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. However, Brookes’ youth did not prevent her from winning the women’s slopestyle title at the Freestyle Skiing/Snowboarding Championship. She is also the first British competitor to earn gold in her event. 

Brookes amazed spectators with her athleticism while competing, most impressively with her execution of a Cab 1440 double grab, a particularly difficult trick. Brookes became the first woman to land this during an event, made even more awe-inspiring by her young age. Along with this skill, Brookes completed four 360-degree aerial rotations while competing. This incredible feat won Brookes 1st place, with Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand in 2nd place, and Onitsuka Miyabi of Japan in 3rd (Reuters). 

In an interview with Olympic.com, Brookes gave insight into her preparation for the event, which included listening to Rage Against the Machine and Metallica. Brookes says that she gets nervous before competing, much like everybody else would, but stays calm by talking to other competitors, many of whom are friends. On pulling off the Cab 1440, Brookes revealed that she had done it once before during practice, and knew that she could win if she did it while competing. Brookes also mentioned that along with believing in herself, she knew she had to stay focused immediately after executing the skill, because she had to complete 2 more features. Furthermore, Brookes says “I got really worried because if I landed it, I would just want to jump up and start crying because I’d be so happy.” 

Gaining popular recognition for her achievements and status as a role model for young people, Brookes shared about her inspiration as a snowboarder. US snowboarder and two-time slopestyle Olympic gold medalist Jaime Anderson stands as the 16-year-old’s role model for the sport, as well as for life. Brookes credits her hard work and good spirits in some aspects to Anderson, saying, “She gave me a letter saying be grateful and happy and you’ll always do well in whatever you’re doing. I actually put that above my bed and I just make sure that I take advice from it every day.”

As a role model for children nowadays, Brookes is still struggling to process the effect that her work as a snowboarder can have for people worldwide. She tells Olympic.com, “I can’t imagine that anybody would look up to me like the way that I would look up to Jamie Anderson. It’s pretty crazy to think that I could be someone’s hero.”