Over the last several months there has been the “Thing” going on in the wonderful world of Triathlons, but mostly in the world of Ironman racing. I found recently that things are not all as they appear to be when it comes to equality in our sport. Yes, I am saying OUR sport. I am new to the sport but I am part of this group of wonderful athletes.
I will never make it to Kona for the world championships, even though I have been told never say never. I am a single, 45 year old, over weight mom trying to make a better life for not only myself but for my son. I know what it feels like to be excluded, to not be treated as an equal and multiple other issues that a person has to deal with growing up the fat girl. But I am not here to talk about me. I am here to talk about why I think it is important to have 50 professional women on the starting line at the World Championships in Kona.
In today’s world we are slowly changing the way we look at not only ourselves but those around us. There continues to be a very large stigma about what a girl can and can’t do. History over the years have shown us otherwise. We, as women can do anything that we set our minds to, from being a professional athlete to a stay at home mom. We do not deserve to be ridiculed about our decisions that we make about how we live our lives. The women who are active professional triathletes are just as or more important today than any other time in history. They are showing us that you can be a girl and do so many different things with your life. They are being the role models that I wished I had growing up. I may have been more active growing up if I had a Jodie Swallow, Beth Gerdes, DeDe Gtiesbauer, Mirinda Carfrae, Chrissie Wellington, Meredith Kessler, Mary Beth Ellis, Rachael Joyce, Sara Gross, Hilary Biscay and Caroline Steffen to name a few to look up to and try to be. We even now have newer role models that are showing girls that at any shape and size can do our sport: Meredith Atwood, Leslie Battle, Krista Henderson and Leah Gilbert.
This all leads up to WHY it is so important to fight this fight now. We are setting an example to girls everywhere that we will not sit and let an injustice pass us by. There are many that will say that the girls can never complete like the boys. Well of course we can’t we are completely different. BUT we are just as good as or better than the boys. This should be celebrated and not shunned. WTC and its Ironman brand have the opportunity to do just that, celebrate women.
They started a group called Women for Tri. Many wonderful, experienced, strong women were invited to be on the first board. The goal of the board is to find a way to grow the sport and have more women participate. This is the growth that they are wanting, but will not happen until they open up the spaces and make qualifying points just as equal. We have women and men of all shapes, sizes and athletic ability join our sport; hey look at me, but we have to make it equal for all. It will take time but it can happen. Just need to take that first bite out of the elephant, the bite for 50 women to Kona.
For more information on this subject go to: http://www.triequal.com