It is both awesome and frustrating that the women are doing so well at the Olympics. There seems to be a sense of surprise oftentimes from commentators that women are kicking so much ass at this level. Those of us involved in sport however, have known this all along. But let’s not knock it – thank goodness women in sport are finally getting the recognition they deserve. And it’s on a global platform to boot.
While all of this makes me incredibly proud, I can’t help but be concerned at the same time, mainly with what this all translates into going forward. It’s fantastic that everybody is paying attention right now, but when the Olympics are over, what then? If there’s nothing in place to capitalise off this new found confidence among women and their willingness to make steps towards a more active life, particularly amongst young women, then what has it all been for?
Watching Jessica Ennis storm to victory down the back straight of the 800m, her last event of the Heptathlon, was awe inspiring. She’s been the face of the Games and had the hopes of a nation heaped upon her shoulders. Not easy to pull off such a feat under so much pressure. Rightfully so, Britain erupted in cheer the moment she crossed the line. Twitter was flooded with women saying how inspirational she is, how wonderful the moment was. Absolutely right, she is and it was, but what will Miss Ennis be doing to ‘inspire a generation’ (as the Olympic tag line puts it)? More importantly though, in fact, what will all of us be doing?
It’s too easy to lay it all at the feet of professional athletes, as if it’s their job and their job only to motivate and inspire others to give a crap about their health and their bodies. But you know what, we live in these communities, we’re in contact with people who may need a helping hand on their journey to fitness, so really, it’s about time we all stopped sitting back and waiting for someone else to take charge. It’s time we stopped making our workouts so insular and actually involved others. It may start with just you and a friend, but these movements can spread quickly.
We can all be part of the legacy. Your workout regime is probably already inspiring someone without you even knowing it. With obesity on the rise and sedentary lifestyles contributing to early death, getting people active is not something that’s even optional at this point. It’s a must. But it’s also a must that it’s presented in new and exciting ways – far too many people are carrying around the horror of high school gym classes. It all starts with us.
So what are you going to do today to inspire others? How will you get someone you know to get active?
Let’s be the change we want to see.
Be pretty on rest days.