NOT every teenager has a mini ramp in their bedroom.
But as a world champion skateboarder aiming for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Poppy Starr Olsen is anything but your average 18 year old.
“I like making friends all over the world,” she pointed to as her favourite part of competing.
“I like getting to hang out with them. There’s so much more of a skate culture in the United States and I really like competing and improving with every competition.
“My goal is definitely to get selected for the Olympics and to get on the podium would be ideal.
“The only time we were allowed to watch TV was when the Olympics were on – I wanted to go even before I knew I wanted to skate.”
Not only is Poppy a skater, she’s also a self-taught piano player and art creator.
Between the nook under her top bunk bed and the family’s kitchen table, she works on a line of unique necklaces, bracelets and keyrings being sold across the world.
She will demonstrate her design techniques at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery 10am to noon on Saturday as part of its free Meet the Maker series.
“I like having all different hobbies and passions,” she said.
“You can’t always think about one thing at a time so it’s an outlet if skating gets too much.
“Like skating you get into a zone. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can focus on what you’re doing and it’s relaxing.
“If skateboarding doesn’t work out you need to have other things you enjoy doing.”
Poppy has been drawing for as long as she can remember.
“It was not until I got invited to my first world cup at 11 that I realised I needed to find a way to fund my future international trips,” she said.
She started making and selling cards, which would fund two or three trips a year.
She expanded to jewellery when she was about 15.
Her most recent range is drawings of Australian animals set behind glass in an antique brass pendant case and attached to a string of semi precious stone beads.
Poppy sells about 500 pieces each year online, at Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery and in 17 stores.
Her most popular items feature birds.
One Maitland customer frequently buys magpie pieces to send overseas.
The inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics means sanctioned competitions have had to equalise prize money for boys and girls and Poppy hasn’t had to rely as heavily on sales.
But they continue to make a difference.
“Before that, girls would get $2000 and boys would get $30,000,” she said.
“The goal when I first started skating back when there was no real funding for girls was the plane ticket there and back.
“Now I’m getting a bit of competition money too but I keep producing what I can.
“It helps to go on flights and accommodation to enable me to get out there and try and win prize money.”
She participated in nine competitions last year, including winning third place in the first Olympics-sanctioned park skating world championship in China.
The next sanctioned event will be in Barcelona in July.
“I’d also like to save for other things too, like a deposit for an apartment in Newcastle.”
Deeper reading: Poppy Starr Olsen, Newcastle’s pro-skating champion
- Newcastle's Poppy Starr Olsen claims bronze medal at park skating world championships in Nanjing, China(November 6, 2018)
- Poppy Starr Olsen is “stoked” to have taken out the World Vert Championships in Nanjing (September 15, 2017)
- Layne Beachley turns mentor to Poppy Starr Olsen (October 4, 2017)
- Newcastle skateboarder Poppy Starr Olsen number one ranked female after 2016 Vans Girls Combi Pool win (February 5, 2016)