I am always feeling inspired during olympic season. The amount of dedication, heart and commitment our Olympians demonstrate in their performances is amazing. I have childhood pictures of me at the Los Angeles Coliseum, being present at the 1984 games. And as I think back to the many olympics that I watched, I think of Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis being highlights on all the local sports channels even after the olympics were over. However, my childhood recollections of women athletes were limited to gymnastics. It make sense when I found out that only 3.2% of sports coverage is dedicated to women (Flame Bearers website). So when I found out about Flame Bearers, the Women Athletes Carrying Tokyo’s Torch, a podcast that focuses on Olympic and Paralympics women athletes. I was thrilled to know there is a platform that is specifically focusing on women. Can you imagine me back in 1984, 1988, 1992 and every four years after listening to Jacqueline Simoneau experience as a young swimmer and her work with the Canadian based Fast and Female? Danusia Francis, Jamaican gymnast, and the importance of positive manifestation, never giving up and practicing visualization. Deja Young’s experience with a disability, mental health and resiliency. And Becky Sauerbrunn, USC soccer player in the forefront of equal pay for women athletes. I could have had women athletic role models that could have possibly changed my course in life or given me the confidence I needed while I was going through chemotherapy, asking for better pay as a school administrator, or even as a first generation college student navigating the Ivy League world.
As a former guidance counselor with a background in sociology, I know the importance of having diverse role models are children can grow up admiring. Our childhood experiences shape our adult selves so if we can instill social-emotional skills, hope and reframe cultural norms, our kids will have the opportunity to make better choices as positive contributing and kind adults. I love that Flame Bearers offers so many topics for us to learn about and get passionately behind. As adults, we are lifelong learners and so this podcast is perfect for the whole family. Here are some themes that I noticed the podcast focuses on that I think is great for us and our children to listen to.
Gender Equity – Mainstream sports coverage focuses on male athletes. But I also learned that even mental health resources and training conditions are geared towards male athletes. So we want to work towards evening out the playing field and providing the resources that women need to do well. Flame Bearers is supporting this endeavor to help introduce us to this topic.
Positive Role Models – These amazing women athletes introduce us to call to action to do good, to be positive community members, to normalize certain topics. We are introduced to women across the world, not just the US. We learn about their life and the issues that inspire them.
Social Issues – Social issues are very important to me, and there is a focus on this podcast, such as mental health, equal pay, and disability inclusion. I also love that they introduce us to women professionals that provide expertise during the podcasts.
Positive Affirmations – There is a focus on appreciating one’s self and positive affirmations throughout the podcasts that we can implement daily. I heard “try your best,” “loving my curls,” “enjoy the journey,” “give yourself a chance” and “it is all about perspective.”
Community Outreach – These athletes give back and are using their power as public figures to pay it forward. Some examples include being a part of non-profits, building a gymnastics program, spreading light on inclusion and disability.
Focus on the Process – We sometimes only think about success but not the process it takes to reach success. We are learning about their rigorous training, village of family and friends, and downfalls that built their resiliency in order to qualify for the olympics or win a medal. This is a valuable theme I try to teach my kids.
Successful Advice – At the end of each podcast, the host will ask if they can offer advice. They give so many awesome tips to help us do our best in life not just in sports. These tips are transitional tips that span in all parts of our life. Tips include: listening skills, trying your best and try anything, trust your instincts, or the power of visualization and manifestation.
After listening to four different episodes these are the takeaways I am leaving with. I am trying my best as a mother and I love myself. I think I will write down my goals and manifest what I want in life while enjoying the process. Different is different but that’s okay. But imagine 12 year old, 18 year old, 21 year old me and the advice that could have helped build my resiliency. This podcast is offering us an opportunity to be hopeful and resilient despite adversity. There’s a new episode coming out every two weeks. This podcast is supported by The Harvard Kennedy School of Women in Public Policy Program which is a program I participated in during graduate school.