Tag Archives: #GirlsGoneSporty

This Girl Can – 18 months on

9 Jul

If you haven’t heard about the Sport England This Girl Can advertising campaign, where have you been? It has been 18 months since the campaign was launched and, in that time, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about issues facing sporty women.

This girl can website

The ‘This girl can’ website

The main criticism of the This Girl Can campaign that I’ve heard is that although the women in the video are from a range of ethnic groups and are different shapes and sizes, none of them is over 33 (I believe the main women are aged 29-33). As girls tend to participate less in sport after the age of 14, a few teenagers should have been included and also some women up to 70, 80 or beyond.

The campaign was discussed widely in the British media:

The one year on report stated that over 2.8 million women had been encouraged to take up sport as a result of the campaign, which is fantastic news, but as Jennie Price (Sport England’s Chief Executive) says “…the job is far from done. With a gender gap of 1.73 million fewer women playing sport compared to men, we need to keep getting the message out there that women come in all shapes and sizes and levels of ability, and they should all feel able to exercise and play sport.”

Hopefully, there will be further updates to the campaign and barriers to women’s participation will continue to come down.

Is enough being done to get women into triathlon and to give them equal opportunities?

In early 2015 the  50 women to Kona (TriEqual) initiative was launched, with the aim of there being an equal number of slots for pro women and pro men at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Currently, there are 50 slots for pro men and 35 slots for pro women. WTC argued against the petition saying it reflected the smaller number of women competing in Ironman events, however stats show that women have a much harder battle to win a championship place:

50 Women to Kona data

In response to the 50 Women to Kona movement, WTC launched its ‘Women for Tri’ initiative. One of the first people to speak out against it was coach Brett Sutton: The Women for Tri initiative. One of the key points he brings up is that the original 12 women on the board were all American, but the main problems are in Europe and elsewhere, so a very narrow perspective is being looked at.

Another balanced article I read explained how WTC had fought back against accusations of ‘pink washing’: Inside the Women for Tri advisory board. I also read Sarah Gross’s article, Triathlon: a sport of gender equality?, wherein she states that “We are one of, if not THE most gender inclusive sports on the planet, we have a rich history of gender inclusivity”… however, despite being more inclusive than many other sports, there is still some way to go.

Although Women for Tri sounded like a positive initiative (and its Facebook group is a welcoming and inclusive place for women to discuss gender-specific tri issues), it didn’t take long before the only pro athlete on the board, Hillary Biscay, resigned as she didn’t feel the group had any real clout: http://hillarybiscay.com/2015/03/27/why-i-resigned-from-the-women-for-tri-board/

At grassroots level, it does seem that triathlon is doing reasonably well, but for the elites there are still gender inequalities.

Representation of women in sport

The images and messages that the media gives about women in sport are a huge influence on young women and their decisions about whether to participate in sport. Some of it, such as the abuse that sportswomen face on social media, can be difficult to control, but surely it’s not too much to ask that media professionals treat women with dignity and respect.

The 2015 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition’s cover image caused a lot of controversy for oversexualising its cover model (check out what Lynda at fitnessmomwinecountry wrote).


Things improved slightly this year, as one of the three alternative Sports Illustrated covers featured Ashley Graham, a so-called ‘plus-size’ model.

Ashley Graham

However, it wasn’t long before Chery Tiegs (a former Sports Illustrated cover model) hit out at the inclusion of Ashley Graham for promoting an unhealthy ideal. Whilst I do have concerns about people who are at either end of the weight spectrum (anorexically thin or obese) being used as role models, I see nothing wrong with Ashley Graham’s figure – she does not look like someone with weight problems.

I thought it was heartening to hear that Athleta were launching an ad campaign featuring real women playing sports. One advert that caught my eye was the Sayulita Surf Sisters advert:

athleta advert

To me it seemed like a great campaign – real women being shown taking part in the sport they love – so I was shocked to find that in the allegedly supportive Women for Tri Facebook group women were arguing about the unhealthy role models they were being presented with, with the woman on the right of the advert being singled out as being overweight.

Finally, I think it’s important to mention the ‘Like a Girl’ ad that aired during the 2015 Superbowl:

To me (and many others) it was amazing that an advert designed to empower women was described as oppressing men by its opponents. Fortunately, there were lots of great comebacks to the negativity on social media.

“Women’s issues”

Last year, menstruation and its effects on women’s sporting performance hit the news:

This is an issue that is regularly discussed in women-only online forums, so it was great that it was finally being talked about on mainstream media. It was even discussed by Ben Greenfield on his podcast.

Size and sport

There has also been a lot of discussion about what counts as an athletic figure. Many female sports stars, including Venus and Serena Williams, have been criticised for their ‘masculine’ physiques, but no-one could question their sporting ability. So, do we place undue emphasis on people’s looks over their sport’s requirements? After all, if Amanda Bingson lost weight she would probably not do as well at hammer throwing:

Amanda Bingson

Marion Bartoli was criticised for her looks following her success at Wimbledon, so she has lost weight (3 stone/ 42lbs/ 19kg), but now admits: “With my current weight, I could never hit the ball with the left and right of my two hands.” She also had to recently withdraw from a Wimbledon invitational because of fears about her health and her ‘gaunt’ physique.

Marion Bartoli Marion Bartoli

So, is it possible to be ‘overweight’ and fit? These articles present some interesting viewpoints:

I’m part of a Facebook group for Athena triathletes (women who weight 165lbs or more, or those who used to be that size). As well as being a supportive community, there are some amazing triathletes who regularly debate whether they want to compete as an Athena or in their Age Group, with both being tough categories. I know plenty of people who are slim, but extremely unfit, so I’d prefer to be slightly overweight, but fit and healthy.

I’ve a lot of thoughts about the place of women in sport and the issues we face, but to write about them all in one post would take me too long. I’m in the process of writing something about my thoughts on women-only races, but would love to hear you thoughts about the issues women face.










Social Media Party

7 Jul

I’ve been really bad at blogging recently (it’s the usual excuses – working hard, training hard, taking part in lots of events… and the little matter of trying to plan a house move), so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my social media sites with you (so that you’ve not got any excuse for not following every detail of what I get up to!) If we’ve got stuff in common, then I’ll probably follow you back 🙂

1. Instagram

This includes random images from my life, many of which are food shots or fitness-related (selfie time!) I also love to share images of race day bling.

My instagram

My instagram

2. Facebook

I share training related updates here and also videos relating to running, cycling, swimming and nutrition. It’s gone a bit quiet recently. What would you like to see here?

Facebook screenshot

3. Pinterest

I’m getting better at using Pinterest 🙂

My Pinterest

4. Twitter

I LOVE Twitter and share regular updates here, but promise I won’t overwhelm you!

Twitter screenshot

5. Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/tamsynmsmith

This is an area of my social media that is perhaps a bit lacking. Does anyone want to watch videos of me? I’ve never tried vlogging, but if people are interested, then I’ll give it a go.


6. Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/profile/Tamsyn

I log all of my activities on Garmin Connect – come and join me!

Garmin Connect

7. About me: http://about.me/tamsynsmith

If you’d like to find out a bit more about what I do as a day job, you can find that info on About.Me.

About Me

8. Strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/tamsyn

I love joining challenges on Strava and can also keep track of friends in various clubs here. I hate receiving ‘Uh oh! Someone stole your course record’ emails.

Strava screenshot

9. Bloglovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/tamsynsmith

When I have some downtime, I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs.

Bloglovin' screenshot

10. RunBritain: http://www.runbritainrankings.com/runners/profile.aspx?athleteid=246411

RunBritain Rankings is a fun way of comparing how well I’m running with others based on age, gender, location, distance etc If you’re in the UK, make sure you sign up.

RunBritain screenshot

11. RunKeeper: http://runkeeper.com/user/fatgirltoironman

This is yet another way that I track my fitness activities – if you’re on RunKeeper, connect with me.

Runkeeper screenshot

12. Endomondo: https://www.endomondo.com/profile/3332013

Endomondo fan? Connect with me here… you even get to see one of my vintage karate photos!

Endomondo screen shot

13. Dailymile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/tamsyn_smith

…another sports tracker and another profile picture!

Daily Mile

14. GirlsGoneSporty: http://www.girlsgonesporty.com/ambassador/tamsyn-fat-girl-to-ironman/

Girls Gone Sporty is a fantastic organisation. My profile there has links to my other profiles… but if you’re interested in promoting a sporty lifestyle, why not become an ambassador yourself.

Girls Gone Sporty screenshot

Let’s get social!


28 days of interval training

12 Feb
Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador

Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador

Need some inspiration and plans to help you workout on your own? Check out this fantastic month-long series of workouts by Girls Gone Sporty:


Push your boundaries, challenge your expectations! #PYBCYE

More good news :-)

27 Apr

I found out today that I’ve been accepted as a Girls Gone Sporty ambassador 🙂

Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador

Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador

If you haven’t heard of Girls Gone Sporty before, then I’d recommend that you visit the website. It includes:

  • Fitness – This page includes all of the latest posts on topics such as yoga, zumba and running
  • Interviews – As it suggests this page includes interviews with a variety of people including Olympian Sanya Richards and TV star Mircea Monroe.
  • Food & Recipes – Healthy alternatives, reviews of diets and even information on growing your own food.
  • Lifestyle – Fashion and giveaways – what more could you want?
  • Reviews – Lots of gear and also some giveaways.
  • Ambassadors – Find out about some of the GGS ambassadors and perhaps find one who lives near to you!
  • Podcasts – Over 30 podcasts with fitness bloggers and other entrepreneurs.

Girls Gone Sporty is an online editorial magazine and a social community for women dedicated to living and leading sporty lives. In addition to providing cutting-edge content, we’re committed to creating a support system for women who are striving to be their best selves.

You can connect with Girls Gone Sporty on:

I’ve been added to a great group of girls (ambassadors are put into groups, so that we can get to know each other better, which is a great idea) – GO #TEAMSTELLAR! Here are links to some of their fantastic blogs:




















…hopefully, some of these cool chicks will be featuring on my blog in future (hint, hint… I’m looking for some interesting bloggers to interview!)