It isn’t only Storm Trentham’s name that’s a force of nature. The entrepreneur, sportswoman, coach and manager has put together DBA (Dream.Believe.Achieve), her own awesome new sports apparel range. Taking into account the needs of athletes, but not scrimping on the style, DBA offers comfortable sports bras and training trews all topped off with some motivational phrases to keep you going even on the darkest, dampest nights.
We have interviews coming up to find out more about this brilliant brand, but for now if you like what you’ve see then you can support DBA through their Kickstarter campaign! There’s only a week left to back this project, so why not get involved here: DBA KICKSTARTER
Images from DBA’s Facebook page - facebook.com/DBASports
In what is fast becoming a familiar refrain for fans of track cycling, Great Britain’s women’s track cycling team brought home a raft of success from the 2014 World Championships securing all five of GB’s medals including individual successes for Becky James and Laura Trott on the final day of the championships.
With an overall haul of two golds (Trott, Joanna Rowsell, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker in the team pursuit / Rowsell in the individual pursuit), one silver (Trott in the omnium) and two bronze (Becky James in the kerin / James and Jess Varnish in the team sprint), the team’s overall record may have fallen two short of Head Coach Shane Sutton’s championship targets, yet those targets included expectations of the men’s team who failed to bring home a single medal.
With the championships held at altitude in Cali, Colombia, the strongest performances were undoubtedly those featuring Joanna Rowsell, who saw her team pursuit squad come in just over a second faster than their Canadian opponents before claiming gold in the individual pursuit with a personal best of 3:30:318 over the 3km circuit. Rowsell’s ride in the individual pursuit, in particular, was near perfect; an exemplary demonstration of pace, measurement and an explosive start which left her a second clear of silver medallist Sarah Hammer after the first lap.
With five World Championship golds to her name since the 2008 championships in Manchester, Rowsell’s second medal of the tournament was her first in individual disciplines having previously secured all of her titled in the Team Pursuit. Indeed, only her 2008 bronze at the U23 European Track Championships had been secured in individual racing.
With the racing calendar’s attention soon to pass to the road – with May’s Women’ s Tour held in the UK confirmed to feature Wiggle Honda’s roster of Rowsell, Trott and Dani King – GB’s track riders are well on course to continue their increasing dominance at the top-tier of the cycling world.
Image from telegraph.co.uk – thanks!
Well there has been a lot in the press of late on sportswomen hasn’t there? I mean, obviously there’s been all the articles about the Winter Olympics, those halcyon days when Putin invited all, even the gay people (so long as they didn’t touch the children – his words, definitely not mine), into the sunny seaside town of Sochi to host a celebration of snowy sports. However, that’s not what i’m talking about today. Instead i’m referring to the odd smattering of articles popping up in the press recently involving women in sport with no mention of any actual currently happening sport. Whether it’s The Times and they’re piece on Becky Adlington OBE and whether she has had her nose surgically altered, Laurie Penny’s reactionary open letter to Adlington in the Guardian or the truly bizarre offering by Kevin Eason on how curling is bringing sexy back, to name a few, the focus of these articles seem less about the actual sport and more about the faces. (If you can’t access the Kevin Eason article I will send you the transcript as this has to be read to be believed)
All these articles are discussing important topics and highlighting the ever increasing issue the media perpetuates of the perfection of a woman’s image well over any of her achievements. The bullying Adlington has experienced over her looks by social media and the press is a heartbreaking example of this, picking on a young woman who has done nothing wrong other than earn publicity for being the most successful british swimmer ever. It’s an issue that needs to be discussed, highlighted and acted upon. With the likes of Twitter and The Daily Mail Online allowing society’s lowest lifeforms to have access to celebrities and have public opinions is making this world a harsher one for any young woman.
However, for all that I completely agree with the above, I am beginning to worry that the world of women’s sport is being forced away from actual game play and instead shoehorned by the media into the world of image and beauty. It feels a bit like the packaged product of women’s sport has baffled most media moguls so has been given the USP of being about the women themselves and not their on pitch/pool/field/track/slope (you get the picture) ability, sold instead under the title ‘women’s issues’ as to not mix with the male dominated area of sport. The problem of image, beauty and the need to conform is definitely an area that affects women more than men in the media and I strongly feel that this is increasingly the space sportswomen are being pushed into. I’m not saying male athletes don’t get mocked for their looks, but its not news for the media as men have their sport. I can’t for the life of me imagine the Telegraph running a heartfelt piece on Wayne Rooney and how the pressure to not be bald drove him to have new hair stapled to his head. Yes it was reported on, yes there was a lot of teasing, but that was that, he’s been left to play football.
Until recently I was a fan of the Sunday Times Style Magazine’s ‘Fit not Thin’ campaign, although a bit superficial it felt like a good attempt to get women active, highlighting the physical and mental benefits of hitting your local gym or tabatha yoga class. That was until the article on women’s football. The main photo was good, with members of a women’s football team left to pose in their kit, followed by some great quotes from some of England’s highest profile football players. No, it was the mention of ‘the look’ that female footballers have apparently taken on that made me a bit sick in my mouth. With mention of a good foundation, braids, fake tan and kohl, women’s football suddenly sounded like it was modeling itself on a night out in Essex rather than an international level sport. It also instantly took the world of women’s football, with its dedicated sportswomen of all abilities, and dropped them right into the pigeon hole of image and beauty, as if that was the only way women would be interested or relate to the concept of women playing the sport. The media can’t help itself.
As with Eason’s hysterical fangirl piece on curling, sportswomen can and do take the time to look good before playing their chosen sport and that’s great. A spartan world of no make up would be a sad one for all, myself definitely included, however it shouldn’t be the talking point of their sport. It shouldn’t have anything to do with their sport. Whether Toni Duggan has done her hair and makeup before heading to the pitch has nothing to do with how she plays. Eve Muirhead et al’s plaits and mascara wasn’t a contributing factor to their bronze medal win at Sochi.
The pressure on sportswomen by the media to look good is a travesty that needs to be discussed, but it’s not the only thing that should make headlines. Women’s sport has a whole lot more to give besides pretty faces and image insecurity, like, say, actual sport, lets just hope the media realises this before that pigeon hole is slammed shut.
Image from telegraph.co.uk/sport (thanks!)
Match day 3 in the Women’s 6 Nations saw the end of one nation’s Triple Crown hopes and a tournament blown wide open on the admirably resilient turf of Twickenham.
Played out in front of a crowd of 15,000, primarily those remaining in situ after the earlier men’s international, Gary Street’s England side inflicted Ireland’s first test defeat since March 2012 to move level with Ireland and France at the top of the table with four points from their opening three fixtures. With Ireland holding a slender lead by virtue of a marginally superior points difference (+60 to England’s +58 and Frances +41), this year’s tournament is delivering its most dramatic opening stages in years as England look to bounce back from an horrendous 2013 showing and Ireland look for only their second ever Six Nations victory.
England’s was no easy victory. Having led 7-0, Street’s side found themselves trailing 10-7 before tries from Bristol wing Kay Wilson and replacement flanker Marlie Packer gave the home team an eventual 17-10 victory and genuine claims of momentum as the tournament enters round 4 on the 7th March.
As for the tournament, having been under threat of reformation as a two-tier competition after years of English domination, suddenly an element of true competition has emerged from within the women’s game. With the seventh Women’s Rugby World Cup now just a few short months away, the time has never been riper for rugby union to show off the drama and skill inherent in the sport.
For now, with the 6 Nations title still firmly in the balance, few eyes will be fully on this summer’s tournament. But for players looking to secure their place in final tournament squads, few competitive matches remain between now and the first match on August 1st. Tense moments.
England 17 – 10 Ireland
Wales 0 – 27 France
Italy 45 – 5 Scotland
Since Friday, I’ve been on the road with a series of locally focussed sport delivery conferences around the UK. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the trials and tribulations of elite sport and to forget the brilliant work that’s being done on the ground.
We all recognise that women aren’t doing enough sport. We all know that a lack of media coverage, too little commercial investment and a lack of normalisation of sport at key development ages for women and girls play a huge role in closing off the world of sport to women and girls.
Sometimes, though, it’s easy to forget about the strength of effort being made on the ground. Outside of the public eye, women and girls in sport are a major focus for the country’s sporting administration. They’re also a major focus for some of the most passionate sporting advocates this country has to offer.
In the past two years, the country’s awareness of its elite female athletes has increased exponentially. It hasn’t come far enough, but its growth has been notable. At the same time, the elite sporting success would be wholly impossible without a strong grassroots infrastructure. These are the type of projects which should be celebrated. Their success will make sport more of a part of women’s lives. That step will build the next rung in the ladder of elite level success. Win/win, no?
Picture from Hackney Laces…you guys rock, thank you!