Posted Asha Ellison on 1/24/2018 |Remarkable! People
Nothing speaks more to the heart of Girls on the Run than celebrating strong, extraordinary girls and women. A strong girl is one who tries new things (activates her limitless potential), follows her heart (boldly pursues hers dreams), empowers others and continues to be a pacesetter for change – crushing stereotypes, breaking records and doing the unthinkable.
Strong girls exist everywhere! Here are a just a few who are inspiring change – and setting the bar — in athletics:
Mirai Nagasu, 24
Mirai Nagasu began setting records 10 years ago. At age 14, she became the second-youngest female skater to win the U.S. Senior Ladies title – second only to Tara Lipinski’s 1997 feat. Mirai also became the second American woman, behind Tonya Harding in 1991, to successfully complete a triple axel in an international competition. She will be chasing her dreams to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics this February.
Naomi Kutin, 16
Affectionately called the “World’s Strongest Teenager,” Naomi Kutin has been a competitive powerlifter, breaking national and world records since she was eight years old. Currently a high school junior in New Jersey, Naomi squats 321 pounds, dead lifts 365, and continues to thrive in the national competitions in an industry dominated by men.
Maame Biney, 17
Seventeen-year-old native Ghanaian speed skater, Maame Biney, became a force to be reckoned with when she became the first black woman to make the 2018 U.S. Olympic speed skating team in short track speedskating in December 2017. Maame will be the second black speed skater on a U.S. Olympic team, following then 19-year-old Shani Davis, the first African-American athlete to win a gold medal for speed skating in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Dr. Rimla Akhtar, 36
In 2014, Rimla Akhtar became the first Muslim woman on the English Football (soccer) Association Council in the United Kingdom. At the time, the association, which is primarily male and white, had only six women sitting on the 121-seat council. Rimla’s hope is to use her experiences as a soccer player, coach, and minority woman to diversify and influence change in football policy and league management.
Becca Longo, 18
Becca Longo first made headlines in 2017 when she became the first woman to receive a college football scholarship from a NCAA Division II university. The 18-year-old kicker attributes her initial interest in football to her old brother who would pass around the football with her on weekends. Becca tried out for football during her sophomore year of high school which further developed her love for the sport, motivating her to pursue it at the college level. She currently plays for Adams State University in Arizona.