“I’m all for struggle. In any sport, there’s a wonderful essence of struggle and seeing how good you can be. But struggle and inequality are not the same thing.”
For most of us, the phrase “professional athlete” conjures images of a celebrity figure with a seven-figure salary and a full support staff. But the reality for most endurance athletes, particularly women, is much less glamorous - income below the poverty line, out-of-pocket costs for travel and equipment, and more couch surfing than a college freshman on a cross-country road trip.
Kathryn Bertine is working to change that. Kathryn is a former professional cyclist, co-founder of the Le Tour Entiermovement to open the Tour de France to women, author of multiple books, and maker of the film Half the Road: The Passion, Pitfalls and Power of Women's Professional Cycling. Most importantly, she's a tireless activist and advocate for female athletes. After retiring from professional cycling in 2017, Kathryn founded the Homestretch Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides free housing and a supportive community for female professional cyclists training in Tucson, AZ. We sat down to talk with her about the incredible work she's doing with Homestretch, as well as about her personal experiences with injury and depression as an athlete.
Note: If you'd like to hear more from Kathryn after listening to this episode - which we expect you will - check out her article in Bicycling Magazine, My Year Without Power.
with Kathryn Bertine
with Rocky LaRose
"Don't let your dreams limit you."
Role models and pioneers in women's sport aren't just players - they're also coaches, administrators, and all-around leaders at every level. In this episode, we talk with one such leader, the inspiring and much-beloved Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose. Rocky began her career in softball at age eight, competing in local summer leagues, and followed the sport to the University of Arizona, where she received one of the university's first full-ride scholarships under Title IX. After an incredibly successful four years as a player, she continued breaking barriers off the field - she became an associate athletic director at U of A, and eventually one of the first women in the country to manage day-to-day operations for major revenue sports like men's football and basketball. She shares laughs and lessons from all of these experiences and more - oh, and we also discover that she knows a thing or two about badminton and hiking the Grand Canyon. Apparently, there's nothing this woman can't do.
with Dr. Sharon Weiss
"We have a tendency to assume that if you're great at something, you're also going to feel good about yourself. And those two things don't always line up."
What shapes our sense of self - in sport and in life? How can we - as athletes and as coaches, mentors, and parents - foster self-esteem through sport, while also creating space to learn from genuine feedback and failure? In our inaugural episode, Dr. Sharon Weiss shares insight on these questions from decades of coaching and sports psychology research; she also gives us a glimpse into her experience as a collegiate swimmer in the early years of Title IX. Dr. Weiss is a three-time US Masters Swimming National Champion, holds a PhD in counseling and educational psychology, and serves on the Network for Advancing Athletes Board of Directors.
*Please note, in this episode we mistakenly cite 1973 as the year Title IX went into effect, when in fact it was 1972.*