It’s been almost 10 years since I joined the Iron Maidens. I was blown away when Beef + Lamb NZ approached me – I couldn’t believe it, you had these kiwi legends Sarah Ulmer and the Evers-Swindell twins and then me, this BMX girl who was yet to medal.
What I have learnt in the interim years is that the Iron Maidens girls are amazing not just because they are all very successful athletes but they are just really cool people and they are great human beings. We have this bond, I guess, that is so natural and easy-going – we inspire each other to be the best we can be.
When Eliza joined the team, I was so pleased. I’d actually worked with her during 2016 and I could see a lot of similarities in her and the younger me – the language she used… ‘it’s my first games so I’ll just give it a go’.
When I was coming into the high-performance sport world I really wasn’t sure what I was capable of, and I guess people kind of tell you, ‘oh you probably won’t medal first time’, and I think Eliza thought that as well. Even though people are trying to take the pressure off, they build a barrier between you and success.
So, we talked on the phone, we looked at her goals and I tried to share some advice that would have helped me the most. When she medaled I was so proud – there was never any doubt that Eliza is an incredibly talented athlete, but it was really cool to be able to share just a few bits of advice, that I had learnt along the way, that helped her out.
It’s the same across all walks of life. Sometimes you forget to dream big and think about all the possibilities you could achieve? So, I believe it’s really important to convey this message; you don’t know what you’re capable of unless you try, just give it a go and give it your absolute best.
This is what the Iron Maidens stand for. What started as Beef + Lamb NZ supporting athletes as part of a nutritional campaign to encourage people to keep their iron levels up has transformed into something so much more.
It has become a legacy, a family of women who remind us all to give 100%.