After announcing a partnership with @sportwomannz this week, I thought I would take some time to reflect on what it meant to me to be a woman in sport. If you had asked me a few years ago, I probably would've laughed this off as a joke, like one of those people that says they're not a runner, but goes for a 3-5km jog each day...if you run, you're a runner.
Unfortunately the mindset has been that we shouldn't build ourselves up in NZ (which is why the new initiative like E Tu Tangata is so powerful - fighting against tall poppy syndrome). So a few years ago, my response to being a person in sport would have been that I am a participator in sport, but I'm not an elite, so don't even consider calling me an athlete.
CrossFit changed that all for me when I competed in my first comp in 2016. I was given a singlet that said Athlete on the back. Initially, I thought 'thats a bit of a joke' - but I've come to realize that unless we begin to change our mindsets, we will continue to struggle with our identity as women, or men, in sport.
The dictionary says an athlete is a person who is competent or skilled at sport. Competent doesn't mean they are the best at it, that they have to be elite to be called by name, it means having the necessary ability or knowledge. So if you're a scaled athlete in CrossFit, you're still an athlete. If you have legs to run, you're a runner.
I don't know whether the struggle is the same for men as it is for women, but I do know that we all struggle with understanding our identity inside and outside of sport. Having the opportunity weekly to talk about my sport and how it affects me mentally and physically is not just a chance to share my experience, but I'm hopeful that it inspires others to get out there and give things a go. I'm not at the top of the game, I'm seeking to be at the top of MY game. I train my mind like an elite athlete, but I'm not expecting to be on the cover of all the world's running magazines. I'm definitely not a 'i am woman, hear me roar', but I am an advocate for getting women, young and old, into enjoying physical activity and instilling belief in themselves that they are capable than doing more than they could have ever thought.