Shrinking and Pinking: Chic and Unique Female Athletes

I must confess that when I started reading this month’s Vogue I did not expect to read about a motocross racer.  Maybe in Sports Illustrated— but Vogue? Just goes to show that female athletes are everywhere these days, showing excellence in various sports and reaching wider audiences than ever before.

21-year-old Ashley Fiolek is the motocross racer featured in Vogue (and, yes, you should say its name with all the reverence of Carrie Bradshaw).

What’s remarkable about Fiolek is not just that she has won the Women’s Motocross Championship three times in four years, but that she has done it as a deaf competitor (especially in a sport like motocross, where most riders use sound to judge when they should shift gears, as the article explains). Let the record show that she also knows how to model a dress in boots.

Another woman who rocks is Katherine Legge.  Legge just finished 22nd at the Indianapolis 500– she’s only the ninth female ever to qualify to race at Indy. What really helps her speed away as a shrinking and pinking maverick is that she is the first driver to ever bring an all-female squad with her.  Clearly women do know how to change tires.

Ariel Hsing and Reed Kessler are two teenagers striving to make their own historic mark on sport.  At 16 and 17 respectively look to see them on your television screens in a few months during the London Olympics.  Hsing recently qualified for the Olympics in table tennis.  But note that she still managed to attend her prom (even if her dress shopping was a bit rushed, as she details on her entertaining blog over at ESPNw).  Kessler is still working to be named to the Olympic team. If she does she’ll make history as the youngest rider in Olympic show-jumping history. Kessler’s competition includes women more than twice her age, along with Bruce Springsteen’s daughter. I suppose if they both make it “Born in the USA” takes on a new meaning.

I love that female athletes in such varied sports are getting media attention, which can help motivate and inspire younger girls to find a sport and passionately pursue a dream.  Who knows, they may even end up in the Vogue shoe closet someday (hopefully without an older man in boxers).

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