Hairspiration at the Olympics : Alysia Montaño

So the title of this post is a little misleading, but I’ll get to that later.

First! The Olympics are here, and I’m so very excited. I’m also likely to attempt to prove I’m still somewhat athletic and throw my back out (this has happened before!). 

Anyway, this week we’re featuring Alysia Montaño, the Flying Flower as our hairspiration, dare I say healthspiration, lifespiration and all around hero. Alysia is recognized on the international track circuit with the flower she wears in her hair. See, it’s important to accessorize! 

Alysia’s story and journey in track and field is one that has gripped my heart, not just because I ran track in high school and spent months of my life watching my sister run at as a student athlete (Go Big Red!), but because of her story of courage and perseverance. 

You would have to live under a rock or simply not care at all about sports to have missed the kerfuffle in news recently over Russia’s state sanctioned doping and whether or not Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in 2016 Rio Olympics (read more about that here and here). Another aside: I’m really quite upset with the IOC’s decision to also punish the whistle-blower and ban her from the Olympics, sends the wrong message. 

Alysia competed against Russian athletes who cheated and was robbed of medals she had rightfully earned for consecutive years but she kept at her craft,pushing herself to excel against those who were willing to take shortcuts. Her story is the stuff of movies, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, except you’re watching it live and in real time and this is a real person’s life playing out in front of you.

You won’t see Alysia at this year’s Olympics in Rio, she was tripped and fell during the 800m US Olympic trial finals, one of the hardest races I’ve ever watched. Sitting miles away in Abuja, watching the video on YouTube on my phone, I cried. I cried hard, moved by the fragility and the rawness of the moment that took so much from this remarkable woman. 

Alysia has battled back from a broken bone, competed while 8 months pregnant,  and kept fighting in a system rigged with cheats and corruption, only to lose her opportunity at perhaps the cleanest race on the international stage and the Olympics at that. 

After taking time out to heal and recover, Alysia is back out and kicking. She’s put together a #roadtoburrito fitness challenge leading up to the Olympics that even my very unfit person can do.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for someone who continues to pick herself up, even when her heart breaks and her legs give out, carry herself to the finish line and keep pushing. This week’s hairspiration is about so more than hair and what a great way to start off the Olympics. 

Learn more about Alysia  Montaño on her website

Follow her on instagram

Get fit with the #roadtoburrito challenge.

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