Monday, March 12, 2018

Honoring women athletes

The 44th Annual Awards Celebration sponsored by Sportswomen of Colorado promised to be a “marathon.” Fifty-seven women in dozens of sports ranging from barrel racing to indoor skydiving, soccer to tennis, wrestling to ice climbing, were to be honored individually.

The event began with an athletes reception at 4:15 followed by a cocktail hour, followed by dinner, followed by the presentation of awards—all held at a hotel the Denver Tech Center well over an hour away from my house. To be honest, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about making the trip.

If I hadn’t, I would have missed learning the details about the accomplishments of an amazing group of women, to stay nothing of an elegant dinner, happy chatter around a table for 10 and the chance to touch base with some athletes that I knew from previous encounters and some that I met for the first time last night.

Award winners ranged in age from high schoolers to oldsters. Barrel racer Sally Ann Fosha is 70 and I’m thinking that at 81, I was no doubt the oldest, getting an award for what I have to call persistence in running. Speed is a thing of the past.

A highlight of the evening was a lively talk by special guest and Olympic silver medalist in the bobsled Lauren Gibbs. An athlete all her life, she was encouraged to take up the sport because of her incredible leg strength. After three years of training, at age 33, she and her pilot took the silver in South Korea a couple of weeks ago. In order to do so, she put on hold a newly-earned masters degree and a six-figure job in the corporate world. Who could ask for a better advocate for following one’s dream?

Every presentation was accompanied by inspiring music and a photo montage. Surprisingly, every athlete’s accomplishments were described by a couple of talented MCs and the event ended promptly at 9:30 p.m. with the announcement of Mikaela Shiffrin, Olympic skier, as the overall Sportswoman of the Year for 2017 in Colorado.

I loved every minute!

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