Meet Two Female Sochi Olympic Athletes Who Changed The Games Forever

Lindsey-Van

We gotta give props to Glamour Magazine for publishing an article which included these two female trailblazers in two different winter Olympic Sports.

If you haven’t yet seen the documentary ‘Ready to Fly’ please do yourself a favor and watch it. It is the story of women’s ski jumping world champion Lindsey Van, and her fight to get her particular sport into the Olympics. In case you weren’t aware, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games is the first time EVER that women have been allowed to compete at Olympic level, because previously, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) gave a bunch of bogus excuses as to why women ski jumpers weren’t allowed to compete.

The movie documents Lindsey’s career rise, and how her fight to the Olympics took 5 years. Some of the excuses the old men in charge gave was that it was too dangerous for women, and somehow came up with the idea that it would cause infertility…The other excuse, which is something that determines whether a sport should be included in the Olympics, was that there wasn’t enough worldwide involvement or interest in women’s ski jumping. Again, both these theories were completely bogus, and Lindsey and Team USA proved them wrong.

2009 was the first year women were even allowed to compete in the world championships, and this was the first time in her life that Lindsey made history by becoming the first American (female or male) to take home a gold medal!

The second time she made history, was of course getting women’s ski jumping into the Olympics, and not giving up without a winning fight. She has paved the way for many young women in the sport who can now compete in ski jumping in the hope that one day they will get to the mecca for most athletes.

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Fun Fact: The London 2012 Olympics was the first time women’s boxing was allowed, which shows that the rules are definitely changing, and it takes determination and a never-say-die attitude to get to the top.

“Fighting for women’s ski jumping wasn’t something I set out to do,” says Lindsey. “I wanted to create opportunities, not just for me but for the next generation of women. Hopefully, I’ll leave the sport better off than I found it.”

For an athlete, getting to the Olympics is a big deal. It gives them the biggest platform they could have internationally, and opens up many possibilities for sponsorship and the ability to make a living off what they do best. Throughout the documentary you will see Lindsey lose heart and at one point even give up competitive skiing, but thank goodness she didn’t, or she wouldn’t be able to be part of Team USA as they aim for gold on the biggest platform they will have yet.

For Lindsey to become a nine-times international winner, and 15-times U.S. National Championships winner means this is one girl to look out for, and don’t ever underestimate what she is capable of.

Speaking of never underestimating people, get familiar with Amy Purdy. If you haven’t yet heard of who she is, what she’s done and how she got to where she is today, then listen up! When Amy was 19, she contracted bacterial meningitis which became so severe, she lost one of her kidneys and both her legs below the knee. For a teen who dreamed of Olympic gold and snowboarding her way through life, she was utterly devastated. But, after a while she realized that her new limitations weren’t in fact a disability, but an opportunity for her to get creative and delve into life in a whole new way.

Determined to get back on the snowfield, she decided to design her own prosthetic which would allow for more fluid movements, because the prosthetics at the time weren’t adaptable for the sport.

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Now at age 34, she is a motivational speaker, is part of Team USA and is the only double leg amputee snowboarder in the world competing at an Olympic Level. Pretty darn amazing if you ask us! This powerhouse woman is also the co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, a non profit which helps youths and veterans with disabilities.

She’s won three World Cup gold medals in snowboard cross, become the top-ranked para-snowboarder in the U.S., and is a favorite to win gold at the Paralympic Games in Sochi.

“We all sometimes hit a point where you think, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t go any further,” she says. “But the majority of the limitations we have are ones we put on ourselves. If you can just push beyond them, you realize how much more you have in you. You realize how capable you are.”

Amy is living proof that setbacks in life are not the same as limitations, and nor should they be thought of as the same. In her amazing Tedx Talk she gave in 2011, she talks about obstacles in a way that is very powerful, especially when it comes to defeating the odds.

“Our borders and our obstacles can only do two things: 1: stop us in our tracks, or 2) force us to get creative.”

With that in (our rightfully blown) mind, she goes on to teach us how to view borders in a way that can inspire all of us in our lives.

“My legs haven’t disabled me, they’ve enabled me. They’ve forced me to rely on my imagination and believe in the possibilities. That’s why I believe our imaginations can be used as tools for breaking through borders.”

“It’s facing our fears head on that allows us to live our lives beyond our limits. In my life, innovation has only been possibly because of my borders. Borders are where the actual ends, and the imagination begins…It’s not about breaking down borders, it’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might take us.”

These are just two amazing examples of women who will take the Olympic world by storm and at the same time inspire countless girls who are watching in their lounge rooms to know that It.Is.Possible. Whatever it is you are facing, believing and trying to achieve, it is possible, despite the odds.

Watch Amy’s Tedx Talk below and get just a glimpse of who this incredible woman is.

8 Comments

  1. These gals just amaze me! I never was an athlete~~no coordination~~but I admire those that can do it. Thanks goodness they had/or found the drive to change things and a way to make it happen!!

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