Our year 7 boys were thrilled to have a visit from the ex World Skateboarding Champion Neil Danns. Growing up, Neil Danns represented his county as a footballer, but it was skateboarding that led to him becoming a top athlete. In a bus station aged 14, Neil heard some music and first witnessed skateboarders in action. He went home, built a skateboard from a plank of wood and his sister’s roller-boots and never looked back.
Neil became a completely self-taught skateboarder. His talent earned him sponsorship from a local shop and an introduction to the English Skateboarding Association.
He was invited to take part in his first major competition aged 17 and won his first British Championship aged 22. Neil was soon repeatedly winning European and British titles, whilst travelling the world representing the UK.
Neil’s career wasn’t without setbacks. The complexity and physical challenges of skateboarding saw him suffer severe injuries. Yet he continually returned from injury, pushing himself through rehabilitation to continue competing. Neil retired from skateboarding in 2005 and today runs Team Extreme, the UK’s only professional BMX team, alongside fellow Athlete Mentor Mike Mullen.
Neil spoke to our year 7 boys about how hard work can make your dreams come true.