When Nike invited me to join forces with them and the city I love for Women Coach LA — a new program to encourage young women to embrace their athleticism — I was humbled and ecstatic. If you saw Nike’s powerful “Dream Crazier” ad during the Oscars, you’ll have an idea of what’s motivating this effort: the dire need to shatter stereotypes around girls and women in sports.
Today’s generation is the least active in history, and with Women Coach LA, we’re setting a goal to recruit hundreds of new adult women in the city to become coaches — coaches who can serve as role models to girls by introducing them to the transformative power of sport, and by simply giving them someone to look up to. It will all culminate in the first-ever Nike Legacy Summit, where a new wave of women will be trained as coaches and leaders. Along with 29 incredible women — including football player Toni Harris and Nike Trainer and ultramarathoner Bec Wilcock (who happens to be my running coach!) — I’m working to get the word out in LA communities and invite other female athletes to set an example.
This is an effort that’s especially meaningful to me. I personally know what a difference sports have made in my life, as a dancer, as a runner, and as someone who just likes to get moving. To get the chance to pass that on to the next generation feels like a culmination of all of those lessons and triumphs and failures. Lessons I’ve learned from the women who mentored me, triumphs and failures I’ve shared with the women I’ve called teammates.
As a mentor with Write Girl, I see how it transforms young girls to get in touch with their voices and put their ideas out into the world — to give themselves the permission to speak up and out. I want young women to know that you can be artistic and athletic. To value their bodies for what they can achieve in a society that too often evaluates them for how they look. To discover the joy that comes from competing against the person you are now to become the person you’ll be tomorrow.
Join us on Saturday, April 6, at the inaugural Nike Legacy Summit. It promises to be a day filled with inspiration, education, and training for women aspiring to be role models and coaches to girls across LA. You can click here to register and learn more.