In a discussion sponsored by YMCA, our very own Carrlyn Bathe hosted a panel of three amazing and accomplished women in sports; hockey player Molly Schaus from Team USA, Olympic Artistic Swimmer Daniella Ramirez for Team USA and Shevon Nieto who represented Jamaica in Olympic Track and Field.
Focused on the equity of girls in sports, these three women shared their life stories and opinions on diversity, women and inclusion in sports.
Schaus, Ramirez and Nieto addressed topics discussing the value of playing sports and its value in everyday life, how sports makes you a better person and prepares you for life, and lessons for those growing up looking to get into sports right now.
Nieto, a hurdler, a wife and a mother discussed the importance of sports in her life, what it taught her and what it can teach you.
"No matter what sport it is that you do, I believe that it shapes all individuals who play sports at any level. Sports teach you how to be on time. Sports teach you that you don't always win. Sports teach you that you have to pass the ball and pick up your teammates if they're down or behind. Sports teach you so much, I believe that they have prepared me for everything that I have had to face outside of the track in my life. Sports of made me a stronger person and made me the person I am," Nieto told Bathe.
Nieto also touched on how sports can prepare you to handle adversity in life. For Nieto, her husband, a two-time Olympic high jumper was paralyzed from the chest down in 2016.
"When that moment came and I was looking at my husband on the bed in the hospital and they said that he was paralyzed, at that point I realized that this was going to be one of the biggest challenges I ever faced. But, being the athlete that I am and knowing how difficult it is to train and say that I can get on the podium to win an Olympic gold, I said 'Ok, this wasn't the first time that I've been hit with a challenge. I knew the training I'd done in sports was enough to prepare me for what my husband and I were going to go through.' Sports helped us get through that time in our lives," Nieto said.
Another important piece of the conversation between Carrlyn and the three Olympian's covered was lessons to their younger selves and those who face difficult battles ahead of them on the field, ice, or wherever.
"You have to believe in yourself. I also think it's really important to surround yourself with a good support system. You're going to have injuries and setbacks but the people you turn to are extremely important. Having those people throughout my life has made the biggest difference when it comes to making it through some of those difficult times. Bet on yourself and believe in yourself," Schaus said.
"Other people's value doesn't decrease your own and you are still worth something even if others are still better than you," Ramirez said. "It doesn't mean that you can't get there eventually. Them being better than you right now is only going to push you to be better. Don't shy away from those challenges because you'll regret it. Don't live with regrets."
You can watch the full conversation on the Equity, Girls and Sports Discussion here: