In celebration of the International women’s rights day, the Quebec Cycling Federation is launching a program 100% dedicated to women’s cycling. Why? Because most girls in their teens drop out of sport without knowing what they’re leaving behind.
Sport goes beyond being part of a team, training, traveling, competing; sport teaches you to be organized, disciplined, respectful, teamwork, mindfulness and it certainly tells you who you are.
Many reasons could explain why they drop out of sport; having being pushed too much when they were younger, which eventually causes a lack of interest, following friends in other endeavours, moving to another city, for example. Sport plays a major role in defining one’s identity because of all the values and tools we learn and pick up along the way! It’s not until a later age that we realise the importance it has in the journey towards adulthood. Sport has always been a big part of my life, before I became a paralympian and it’s where I found a sense of belonging, of usefulness and empowerment.
For all of those reasons and because no matter the stage of life we’re at, it’s important to have people to look up to, either being mentors or role models. When I was a kid, hockey was my thing and Manon Rheaume was my idol. As a goalie, she became the first woman to play a game in the NHL. Women’s hockey eventually made its way to the Olympic Games and I would cheer when Canada scored a goal. It was the days of France St-Louis, Danielle Goyette and a few years later Hayley Wickheneiser, Kim St-Pierre, Caroline Ouellette; today we see Shannon Szabados and Marie-Philip “Captain Crunch” Poulin. All of these women have paved the way for hundreds and thousands of little girls, like me and they have contributed to the growth of their sport.
Today, I am proud to join 6 incredible women in a common effort to promote cycling to young girls. The FQSC is launching its 100% Women Cycling program, to encourage girls not to drop sport.