Whilst it’s fair to say that every sport is demanding in it’s own way, the one chosen by Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe does seem to require quite a lot, even by Olympic standards.
The strength of a weightlifter needs to be combined with the grace of a dancer.
The endurance of a runner must meet with the flexibility of a gymnast.
And they both need to be very comfortable spending a lot of time upside-down.
Kate and Izzy are going to Tokyo 2021 to compete in the Olympics in synchronised swimming. To say that this is an incredible achievement is, quite frankly, an understatement, especially when you consider that Kate and Izzy both qualified for the 2020 Olympics whilst taking their A-Levels. Now aged nineteen and twenty, they will be some of the youngest sports-people competing at the highest global level, and they are the only synchro swimming duo representing Great Britain.
We couldn’t think of two better sports-people to star in our #StrongIsBeautiful campaign, celebrating the boldness and the beauty in every woman. #StrongIsBeautiful is not only about cheering for strength, it’s also about women supporting, championing and uplifting one another - something that Kate and Izzy have been doing (literally) for over ten years.
The statistics around women and girls in sport need to change. At the moment, around 64% of girls will give up sport by the time they reach the age of seventeen, with 80% saying that low self-esteem and body-image issues contribute to this.There’s a fear that they will get too muscular, too strong, too unlike the standard images of beauty we see around us everyday. This can not only lead to health problems related to a lack of fitness, it also deprives women and girls of something so much more important: joy.
Spending time with Izzy and Kate, it was clear that they love their sport. It brings them so much joy, purpose, and energy. As they swam around one another, modelling some of the latest Bluebella lingerie collections in a specially designed tank of water, these two mermaids not only made everything look effortless. It also looked fun.
We can’t help but feel that the more girls and women see how joyful and beautiful it is to be athletic, the more they would feel encouraged to stay in sports teams, or even to take up something new. We need a greater visibility of all kinds of beauty, celebrating one another’s achievements and strength.
That’s what our #StrongIsBeautiful campaign is all about. It showcases the beauty and the joy in doing something you love, whether that’s running, dancing, or repeatedly throwing yourself into a pool with your best friend.
So here’s to the strong, bold and beautiful Kate and Izzy – two sporting role-models for women of every age. We’ll be tuning in to cheer them on in Tokyo 2021.
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