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Women to Watch at the Olympics

Will you be watching the Olympics when they begin tomorrow, Friday - August 5? There will be pageantry and then the games begin!

All of the athletes at the Olympics represent the best talent of their countries. But perhaps you would like to know a few women athletes to watch for, including US Olympians as well as those from other countries.

One star is sure to be US gymnast Simone Biles. She was the first African-American to be the all-around world champ. At 19, Biles already has won three back-to-back world championships - the first woman ever to do so.

We can cheer for Simone, as well as the other stand out women athletes of the Olympics - no matter what their country. Read more here.

What is your sport?

What do you love to do? There are lots of reasons to participate in sports like building strength and confidence and we all find our own path to confidence. Here is a story of my journey towards swagger in sports.

What is swagger in the outdoors and sports?

Swagger in the outdoors and sports IS:

…looking inside yourself to find your courage and strength. It is training and being prepared to be out in nature or to compete in a sport. It is knowing your own capabilities and setting your own boundaries. It is taking smart, not crazy risks.

Swagger in the outdoors sports is NOT:

…being cocky or arrogant or trying to dominate others, even though it is good to play hard and it is good to win.

My search for swagger in sports


As a tomboy growing up, I was more interested in playing outside than playing with dolls. I climbed trees, splashed in creeks, and played kickball with my friends. I loved being outside in the warm Missouri nights, chasing fireflies until my mother called me to come in. I was confident in my body and loved how my legs could carry me up any hill. In school, I tried gymnastics and played field hockey and volleyball. I went to Girl Scout camp where I learned to ride horses and to bike long distances.

After I turned 13, my interest in sports dwindled and my interest in boys grew. But, I still loved to be outside hiking, biking and skiing. As an adult, I went biking in the summer and skiing in the winter with my son Sawyer and husband Joe. We lived in Colorado and planned family vacations in the mountains around these sports. I looked forward to these trips, but I noticed my enjoyment seemed to decrease with the passing of time.

Grown Up

Although I still liked being outdoors, I noticed that both my son and my husband liked to compete against each other and me to see who could go faster, be tougher, and win at all costs.

They were compact, muscular, and determined. My son learned to ski and snowboard when he was very young. By the time he was 12, he’d gone from ski school to bombing down the hardest black diamond runs very, very fast. His back would be visible briefly, his curly hair escaping from his cap, before he disappeared into the trees.

My husband also liked a challenge and would pick out the most difficult runs to try. Often, I would follow him. I remember finding myself standing in the middle of an icy, bumpy mogul field on a treacherous slope with a fierce wind blowing, wondering how I got there. More importantly, I wondered how I would get down. In this situation, as in so many others, I found it helped to get a little mad and let adrenaline take me down the slope.

Rather than feeling like a victim, if I engaged my courage and strength, I was able to move beyond fear and ski slowly across the tops of the massive bumps, finding my own path down the slope.

Adrenaline also helped in the summer, when we went to the mountains and rode the mountain bike trails. My husband and son went racing down and climbing up those same slopes that we had skied in the winter. I tried to keep up. I felt that I needed to prove that I was also tough and fast and fearless.

Once, in an effort to show them I was not afraid, I rode my bike down a rocky hill as fast as I could. My reasoning for doing it was that my husband had done it. I chose to ignore the fact that my husband raced bikes competitively and was highly skilled at such things.

As I started down the slope, I knew right away I was going too fast and the hill was too steep. Halfway down I rode over a jagged boulder, fell and twisted the handle bars around my thighs. I tumbled down the rest of the way with my legs tangled in the handle bars and frame of my green Trek. Afterward, I had wide, ugly, black and blue rings around my thighs that drew stares in the Rec Center locker room for a month.

My Journey toward Confidence To be continued...

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