The Austin Woman reminisce about the women athletes whose lessons that are still relevant to them ’til this day.
I wouldn’t say that I know too much about sports, but I can appreciate all of the hard work and dedication an athlete puts into their craft. In an interview with Shawn Johnson for the In the Booth podcast, Johnson reflects on her time as a U.S.A. Olympian. Although Johnson knew beforehand that she could not win gold for her country, she proudly reveals that her 2008 Beijing Olympic performance was her favorite performance she’s ever given.
“If you can’t win the gold medal, at least go out and show the world that you deserved it,” she says. Instead of feeling completely defeated, Johnson spreads the message of perseverance and staying positive despite a discouraging situation. With just that short quote, Shawn Johnson has inspired me to look at life with a “glass half-full” perspective and to keep going. As professional athletes and public figures, it is important for them to remain hopeful. Not only to inspire themselves but other individuals around the world.
Social Media Specialist
A woman athlete that inspires me is my Aunt Kim. Throughout my life, she has always been supportive, kind, lovable and the person to put a smile on my face. For me, running is a way to enjoy nature and spend time with my dog. For Aunt Kim, running is a way to connect with people from all walks of life and be resilient through a tough race. (This photo is from when she placed in the top five overall females for Rogue’s 30k race.) Along with my uncle, they have inspired their family by using running not only to recover those bad days but also to treasure the good ones.
I always loved tennis growing up and sometimes still play in my free time. Serena Williams is someone who I’ve always looked up to when it comes to resilience, determination and refusal to give up. She has redefined what it means to be dominant in tennis, showcasing her unparalleled skills and relentless work ethic. Beyond her undeniable talent, she has faced numerous challenges throughout her career, including injuries and personal setbacks. However, that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the top female tennis players. Even if you’re not an athlete, these are things that we can look up to for our day-to-day lives. Serena Williams has motivated me and countless individuals to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles, no matter how hard it can be.
Director of Marketing and Events
The scene: 1984. Imagine being told your entire childhood that you are the spitting image of Mary Lou Retton, the gymnast you MOST wanted to be like? Inspired to be great, you watch all her routines, practice until your childlike body can’t give anymore. You save your hard-earned allowance to own the staple U.S.A. flag leotard and somehow convince your mother that in order to be a notable gymnast your haircut has to resemble your hero’s. After all, if you look the part, surely you could have the same skill set? Duh.
It would be a long, hard road through self-discovery, but I was up for a challenge. I knew to be great, I had to keep the vision of determination. After all, if Mary Lou could do it, why couldn’t I? Marcie, don’t give up! Once that leotard is on, everything turns to magic.
Numerous events, several ribbons, trophies and a claim to being the youngest in the 956 (the Rio Grande Valley) to compete at regional levels later…well, that was enough love for me. But I never forgot the lessons learned from drive and determination, through extra hard work. Moral of my story is that success doesn’t come without challenges, but it’s how we get there despite setbacks and everyone that inspired us along our journey. Remember, dear reader, there’s a champion inside each and every one of us. If there’s not now, just find that one fabulous leotard and twirl around until you discover your wild spirit calling.
Before the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles. Before the elegant greatness that is Gabby Douglas. There was Dominque Dawes. Part of the 1994 Magnificent Seven, Dominique had thousands of little Black girls across the United States in love with gymnastics. In particular, her beam routines always stuck with me. I loved the floor, but if gymnastics was ever going to happen for me, beam would have been my event. And it’s all because of Domnique. She was an absolute artist on the beam. Such poise. Such class. Such undeniable strength. Because of her, it never occurred to me that it was something I couldn’t do. She was more than just an incredible gymnast. She was, and remains, one of the most iconic athletes of all time, and will forever be cemented in sports history as one of the greatest to ever do it.
Media Sales Executive
Simone Biles’s unwavering dedication to mental health advocacy is a great source of inspiration for me. Beyond her astounding physical prowess, she fearlessly shines a spotlight on the importance of prioritizing our mental well-being. As a small but mighty female, I have experienced firsthand the pressures and expectations that can accompany pursuing excellence.
Witnessing someone as accomplished as Biles openly address her own mental health challenges is not only empowering but also deeply reassuring. Her courageous decision to step back from the 2020 Olympics in order to nurture her mental well-being sent shockwaves throughout the world, breaking down the barriers of stigma and sparking vital conversations. Biles has emerged as a radiant symbol of strength and resilience, reminding us that taking care of our minds is just as crucial as nurturing our physical abilities. Her unwavering advocacy emboldens me to prioritize self-care, to listen to the whispers of my own mental health and to champion the destigmatization of these important conversations.