Bombette Martin is the Gen Z multi-hyphenate Olympian you need to know

Right before turning 18, the skateboarder and model talks to woo about her Olympics and fashion journey

Hero image in post
Hero image in post

Right before turning 18, the skateboarder and model talks to woo about her Olympics and fashion journey

By Darshita Goyal15 May 2024

What were you doing when you were 17? I was in year 11, pimple-faced and obsessed with Gossip Girl. My biggest achievement was successfully hosting themed birthday parties and having a boyfriend. Well, New York-based skateboarder, model, content creator and fashion designer Bombette Martin’s story is a teeny bit different. At 17, the British-American has won multiple national and international skateboarding competitions and represented Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Martin also tried to make it at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics but unfortunately did not qualify, owing to an injury she’s presently nursing. In the meantime, she has amassed over 30k followers on Instagram where she makes fun skateboarding and fashion content, has designed multiple lines for luxury sneaker brand P448 and also got signed by global modelling agency One Management — all before getting her drivers licence. A moment to process those many, many golden achievements.

If you have questions about all these accolades (like, how is this humanly possible?) — we did too — and we’re here to help make sense of them. woo sat down with the Gen Z multi-hyphenate to understand what makes her tick, what it was like to make it to the Olympics one time and face rejection the next, how she balances fashion and competitive sports and what the future holds.

Hold up, that’s not all. When you meet someone this talented, a straight-up interview doesn’t cut it. So we also challenged Martin to show off her personal style for our ongoing social media series where young creatives recreate pop culture inspired looks. Watch below as the skateboarder shows off her sartorial style and puts together a chic airport look with bits from her wardrobe… and her brother’s.

First things first, how did the Olympics happen? Tell us everything.

Bombette: I started skateboarding when I was nine and began with local competitions in New York City, where I was born and raised. I was just doing it for fun, really, but then somehow with the competitions, one thing led to another. I followed through all the Olympic qualifiers but then Covid happened so 2020 became a big break which gave me an extra year to train. The Great Britain Qualifiers were in 2021, from there I made it into the international competition and ranked 14th in the world. This gave me enough points to make it to the Olympics and that was an absolutely incredible experience.

It was really strange when we got to Tokyo though, Covid was still fizzling out so there were about 75 checkpoints between us leaving the States and reaching the Olympic Village. And once we got there, athletes were allowed to leave their rooms for like half an hour a day to go for a walk but otherwise it was just between the skatepark venue and back. I really do want to go to Tokyo again to see the city, I never got to do that!

Why did you decide to skate for Great Britain and not the States?

Bombette: Well, my father is British and I have dual citizenship. It was somehow always more appealing to me to skate for Great Britain because the whole USA team is based out in California. Since I’m so far out in New York, it may as well feel like a whole different country because we’re so far removed from each other. And honestly, I didn’t want to be part of all the California drama so I decided to go further east and Great Britain worked out.

It must’ve been hard to compete on the world stage and face rejection at the upcoming Olympics. How do you deal with the stress of it all?

Bombette: Honestly, people are kind of shocked at my response because I’m doing okay. I guess when someone doesn’t qualify the first time and then tries again and doesn’t make it, it’s their end all and a horrible feeling. But since I’ve made it to the Olympics once and I’ve been through so much these past couple years with injury and competitions, that I’m okay it’s done. Obviously I tried really hard to qualify but I mentally prepared myself that if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world.Frankly there’s so many things outside [skating] — like fashion and modelling — that interest me so I can focus on that too.

I have tried a couple different sports therapists as well. But I think the biggest thing in skateboarding is fear, that’s the only real thing that’s holding you back. So my focus is always on getting out of my head, sometimes I journal because it helps me put everything down so I don’t go crazy.

Where does your interest in fashion stem from?

Bombette: Growing up in New York — and it being such a fashion epicentre — my love for fashion kind of came naturally. As a kid it started off as a love for shopping but also because I was surrounded by fashion all my life. My mom always had a sewing machine out with her and my dad, he runs a screen printing factory and previously made sneakers in Japan. Currently my mom also makes labour gowns for pregnant women but earlier she had her own swimwear line.

So I remember playing on a sewing machine and being in and around the factory when I was really young. While I can sew and make my own clothes, it doesn’t look super great up close — I still have to be professionally trained and get an education in fashion. A couple years ago, when P448 wanted to create sneakers and step into the skateboarding world, my dad’s friend introduced them to me and that was like a dream come true. I’ve done multiple drops with them now, every sneaker has a little bit of me in it so my favourite colour red, my lucky number or just angel numbers.

What does the future hold for you?

Bombette: Right now I’m excited to focus on modelling, creating content, designing and skateboarding. I don’t know if I’m going to try for the 2028 Olympics, I would say no right now because I’m burnt out, but you never know how it goes. Maybe when 2025 rolls around, I’ll want to go through it again. For now, I want to take part in a couple contests for fun and just focus on other parts of my life as well.