Neil Danns

YST Neil Danns

Sport: Skateboarding

Twitter: @neildanns

How did you get into sport?

I come from a sporting family and sport was something we did most weekends and holidays. When I was 14, I was stood at a bus station, where I heard some music and first witnessed skateboarders in action. I went home, built a skateboard from a plank of wood and my sister’s roller-boots and never looked back.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame?

My career definitely wasn’t without setbacks. The complexity and physical challenges of skateboarding meant I suffered severe injuries. Each time I got injured, I had to motivate myself to push through a rehabilitation programme to enable me to get back on the ramp and keep competing.

What are your three biggest achievements in sport?

  • Twice British Skateboard Champion
  • Once European Skateboard Champion
  • Representing Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Who most inspired you and why?

Mohamad Ali inspired me most, because he became world champion three times and he stood by his beliefs even when his whole country was against him.

When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?

My first Involvement with the Athlete Mentor programme was around 2009 on the (RAMP) Respect Athlete Mentor Programme, and my intention was to show students that irrespective of where they come from they can determine their own paths in life. My aim is to pass on some of the life skills that have helped me become successful at skateboarding through his work with young people.

What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?

I feel it’s impossible to pick one favourite moment as every session I do, I will see something in the young people I work with that inspires me.