Kikkan Randall flexes with a young girl at Fast and Female Park City. (Liz Arky)
PARK CITY, UT (Oct. 18, 2016) – You couldn’t tell that it was a rainy, miserable day outside, as 135 girls’ smiles lit up the USSA Center of Excellence entryway in Park City, UT, waiting to be let into Fast and Female 2016.
Headed up in the U.S. by Kikkan Randall (Cross Country – Anchorage, AK) and Liz Stephen (Cross Country – Park City, UT), Fast and Female is a program devoted to empowering girls in sports. Events take place all around the country with girls aged 8 to 18 attending to play, exercise and get inspired by female athlete ambassadors.
Laurenne Ross, Alice Mckennis and Liz Stephen talk with the older girls after Pilates. (Liz Arky)
This year, the older girls—age 13 and up—focused less on physical training and more on the role of nutrition for female athletes, while working on core exercises through Pilates and picking the brains of the elite athletes.
“We had each of the older girls share their “rose, thorn and bud” in regards to their sport—the rose being something the loved about sport, the thorn being a challenge they face and the bud being something they are looking forward to in their sport,” shared Stephen. “We had some really great discussions and the girls were so willing to open up and share with us as ambassadors and their peers. I was really impressed.”
The younger girls—ages 8-12—participated in stations around the COE: Jessie Diggins (Cross Country – Afton, MN) and Jackie Wiles (Alpine – Aurora, OR) led a dance station; Shannon Bahrke (Freestyle – Reno, NV) and Heather McPhie (Freestyle – Bozeman, MT) bounced girls through the trampolines; Erika Flowers (Cross Country – Belgrade, MT/SMS) and Sophie Caldwell (Cross Country – Peru, VT) piloted team-oriented strength training; and Katie Ryan (Alpine – Aspen, CO) and Anna Marno (Alpine – Steamboat Springs, CO) conducted an agility session, complete with working on the girls’ tucks.
“It's so inspiring seeing girls making new friends while being active, getting strong and getting their sweat on!” said Diggins. “It's been fun over years being an ambassador to the program and helping out at these events designed to inspire girls to dream big and stay active for life.”
While the girls were in the gym, 15 parents and coaches attended a Fast and Female seminar. There, they listened to Randall discuss her background and why sport is important to her, and heard USSA’s High Performance Chef Megan Chacosky talk about fueling young girls’ bodies.
The day finished with the girls playing a giant game of freeze tag and listening to quick speeches from the ambassadors on being strong women in sport.
“I’m so proud and happy to have my daughters participate in this program,” said Mike Jaquet, USSA’s Chief Marketing Officer and parent to two young girls. “Congratulations to Fast and Female on the continued success and growth of the program. It’s a world-class experience.”
A big thanks to U.S. Bank for sponsoring the event and to L.L. Bean for providing T-shirts.