International Women’s Day – Dame Sarah Storey

20 April 2017 by
First published: 7 March 2016

Find out more about one of the most inspirational women for International Women’s Day – Dame Sarah Storey.

Dame Sarah Storey is Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian, with a total of 11 gold medals, eight sliver and three bronze in two sports: swimming and cycling. This year, Sarah joins a host of other talented women cyclists as a member of UCI Professional women’s cycling team Podium Ambition and, subject to selection, will be heading to her seventh Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

We’re seriously inspired by both Sarah and Podium Ambition, so we jumped when we had the opportunity for a quick chat about the team, and to pester her for a few words of wisdom at the launch of the team’s partnership with Adidas Eyewear.

Peppered all over Podium Ambition’s website and social channels is the hashtag (got to love a hashtag) #makeithappen. Strong, inspiring words don’t you think? According to Sarah, this catchy phrase actually belongs to the team’s title sponsor, but was adopted by the team when they wanted to focus on their personal goals and challenges. We don’t know about you, but we like that. And there’s lots of evidence out there to support the idea that focusing on a motivational mantra (or hashtag!) can help you achieve your goals.

Digging a bit deeper, Sarah explained how she is all about breaking challenges down, creating stepping stones that guide you on the path to success – another age-old trick when it comes to achieving your goals! Sarah then went on to describe how if you’re process-driven and focus on those methodical steps the outcomes will take care of themselves. The learning point here is: train, train, train, prepare, prepare, prepare, and failure isn’t and option.

It’s these ideas that drive Podium Ambition, and Sarah herself. The team aims to inspire and impact on the number of women participating in cycling around the UK. Their #makeithappen philosophy is to ensure that whatever your dreams are you can achieve them through the right support and opportunity.

The future of sport is important to women. As Sarah pointed out during our chat, women’s sport is some of the fastest growing markets – with women drawn in by both health benefits and the enjoyment factor. Women’s sports are typically younger than men’s, but they’re growing quickly with teams like Podium Ambition, the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club (the team’s cycling club that is open to all) and women like Sarah leading the charge and looking for ways to create a sustainable future for women in sport. Sarah explained that the team wants to have an impact on the whole of cycling, from amateurs (through the Cycling Club) to pros and all the other people that support the sport around the edges. As Sarah points out: sport breaks down barriers, it is something we can all do together, and everything about the team promotes this idea.

No interview about goals, challenges and sport could end without the immortal question, what are your words of wisdom? Sarah’s are beautifully straightforward: ‘Don’t be ordinary. Be extraordinary.’