This is Nadia Nadim. She was born in Afghanistan. Her father was murdered by the Taliban when she was 11 years old and her family fled to Denmark on the back of a truck.
Nadia has scored almost 200 goals in professional football and represented the national team 98 times. She’s completed medical school and is studying to become a reconstructive surgeon when her playing days are over.
She speaks 11 languages fluently and is on the Forbes list of Most Powerful Women in International Sports.
If you want to show your daughter a role model show her Nadia Nadim…not the Kardashians
MyKayla Skinner, US Women’s Gymnastics Team Medalist
I like watching the Olympics as much for the back stories. MyKayla’s is fate showing up.
In the end, it was a storybook ending with all the twists and turns of a movie. From being named an alternate to the team in 2016, to contracting COVID-19 and pneumonia as she made her comeback as the oldest gymnast in competition for the United States, to coming up just short of qualifying for the vault final, it was all part of the long journey to a remarkable finish to her career.
“There have been so many times I’ve wanted to quit the last 2 years and throughout my entire gymnastics career,” Skinner wrote on Instagram hours after she won silver. “I don’t think most people know how hard this sport is on your body and mind. I’m grateful I never gave up and that so many of you never gave up on me ♥️ unfinished business … FINISHED 🥈“
If you ‘ve followed the news you know why Simone Biles withdrew from her events. She also knew that MyKayla was the best vaulter and this was her last shot at an individual medal. After Biles withdrew from the team final, Skinner said Biles told her coach, Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, that “you need to text MyKayla to make sure she doesn’t go home in case she needs to step in.”
The entire women’s gymnastic team are hero role model’s in how they handled diversity and rose to meet the challenge.
A couple years back I wrote a blog on Wilma Rudolph. Her daughter Yolanda Rudolph has spoken out about her mother’s guilt about abandoning her while she pursued her goals; In the fall of 1958, the child’s mere existence was hidden from the world. That was the way it had to happen in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly for a Black woman whose baby was born out of wedlock. Wilma Rudolph was successful on the track, winning three gold medals as a sprinter at the 1960 Rome Olympics, it could never be enough to compensate for what she had lost. The rest of her remarkable story: in a previous post a couple years ago:
None, it is safe to assume, will have to hide their motherhood from the world. Quite the opposite; for Olympian moms, that aspect of their lives is an essential part of their stories, their motherhood journeys highlighted in soft-focused television profiles, their triumphs often celebrated with victory laps or podium photo ops with their infants or toddlers in their arms.
“We’re in a powerful moment in time: the female rising,” said beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings, a mother of three who competed in five Olympics, winning three gold medals.
Walsh Jennings, 42, has been around long enough — her first Olympics was in 2000, and she fell just short of making a sixth team this summer — that she has witnessed that rise firsthand. When she started as a pro, she said, career and motherhood was an “either/or” proposition.
“You had a choice: either put off having babies or wait until you’re done competing,” she said. “When I started, women were mostly waiting.”
Allyson Felix and daughter:
Most decorated track star in Olympic history just won #11, surpassing Carl Lewis, and a game-changer for all women in sports today.
Proof Mom’s still rock it!
Women have been part of the Olympics for as long as they have been allowed to compete, beginning in 1900 Paris Games. Change has come slowly and most recently, Corporate America. In 2019, U.S. Olympians Allyson Felix, Kara Goucher and Alysia Montaño began speaking out about Nike reducing their sponsorship compensation after they became pregnant and had babies. It became a watershed moment, with Nike leading a parade of companies that changed their policies regarding maternity pay and benefits.
1908 London Games