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Team USA Female Athletes Empower the Next Generation of Women in Sports
When girls get on the move, great things happen – and this is especially true for girls in sports. From building social skills and learning about dedication to reaping the mental and physical health benefits, making sure girls everywhere feel empowered to participate in sports is key – especially for three Team USA female athletes on Team Milk.
Kristi Yamaguchi, Jamie Anderson and Maddie Bowman want to set an example to inspire the next generation of female athletes about the benefits of competition, and why they should never give up.
Maddie Bowman Talks About the Impact of Women in Sports
Maddie Bowman first learned to ski from her mother, a ski coach and instructor. But keeping up with her older brothers by emulating their daring moves kept her on the slopes. She grew up racing, and then took up freestyle to challenge her skills, technique and drive.
Maddie’s specialty is halfpipe skiing, which became an event for women at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. When that competition was announced, Maddie set her sights on winning the gold medal for Team USA to help show young female athletes the impact women can have in sports.
“It was never a reality for us [women] before,” said the U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Halfpipe Freeskiing. “To go to the Olympic Winter Games and win the first-ever gold medal in my discipline, it definitely puts me on a little bit of a stage. I want to inspire young girls to get out and chase their dreams. I don't want any stereotypes to hold them back because they can do anything that they put their mind to, and I mean to show them that they truly can.”
Jamie Anderson Shares the Benefits of Competition for Girls
U.S. Olympian Jamie Anderson is at the top of her game. She started chasing her dreams at a young age and is now an inspiration for young girls working to do the same. She caught air and the competitive spirit when she started snowboarding with her sisters at just 9 years old.
Jamie is now one of the top snowboarders on the mountain — winning the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in Slopestyle at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. The California native also has won 13 medals at the X Games.
Because snowboarding requires the mindset to push through the fear of falling, Jamie said that ability to maintain focus while trying something new is a great skill to learn and one of the benefits of competition for girls. Jamie uses this skill on each run, yet at times gravity wins the trick. But that’s all part of the competition, and she wants young female athletes to make peace with that part of the practice.
“Fear is a huge factor in snowboarding, but you’ve got to be a little bit afraid. You have to focus, visualize the steps and trust that it takes time to get more comfortable,” she said. “The result is that you’ll find the pure love and passion that comes with working toward things that aren't easy.”
How U.S. Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi Inspires Young Athletes
Kristi Yamaguchi is one of the most decorated female athletes in figure skating history. She started skating when she was six years old, ultimately winning the World Championships in 1991 and the skating trifecta in 1992 — the U.S. Championships, the World Championships and the gold medal for Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992. She was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Kristi teaches emerging athletes that sportsmanship, which includes supporting and respecting your competitors, as well as having fun, is important while training. She also reinforces for them the most important aspect of competition is doing the hard work.
“You're not born a champion – you have to work hard at it,” she said. “You see elite athletes who are studying and training hard. Remember that these are the steps you have to take that will build you into what you want to become.”
Follow Team Milk Athletes to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018
To learn more about milk's role at the training table on the road to PyeongChang and to watch exclusive videos from our Team Milk athletes, visit Fueling Team USA.