Fast and Female: Rosanna Crawford
In 2013, the UN General Assembly declared 6 April as International Day of Sport for Peace and Development. Every year since, we celebrate the power of sports to further social change and progress across the globe.
For this reason, we're shining a light on the activities and efforts of athletes away from the field of play on this very day.
All eyes on "Fast and Female"
Today we're taking a closer look at "Fast and Female", an organisation that focusses on keeping girls healthy and active in sports. The NGO was founded by former Canadian Cross-Country Champion Chandra Crawford in 2005 and naturally, her sister - and recently retired biathlete - Rosanna Crawford has been a part of its history.
"Chandra did notice that my enthusiasm for sport dropped off a bit when I was 15, 16 and I think this might have been part of what motivated her," Rosanna Crawford remembers.
"But having Chandra as a role model and seeing her be successful at such a young age really pushed me to pursue sport to an elite level. Chandra will be a big part of me being active now that I am retired."
Strong Biathlon Support
Fast and Female organises and hosts events for girls between 8 and 18 years of age across Canada and the USA (Kikkan Randall leading Fast and Female USA), helping them to build confidence, enjoy physical activities and keeping sports fun.
Rosanna Crawford isn't the only biathlete helping Fast and Female as an ambassador -- a lot of her former teammates like Julia Ransom, Sarah Beaudry and Emma Lunder are also involved.
"It’s amazing how many Canadian biathletes give back to Fast and Female. Biathlon isn’t super popular in Canada, so being able to talk about our sport and hopefully get some more girls involved is really important to all of us."
Giving back works both ways
Crawford has been involved in her sister's NGO for most of her career -- but it's not just the girls that have benefitted from having the biathlete as a role model at events, Crawford herself found inspiration in the work she did away from her professional sports career.
"Working with Fast and Female was incredibly motivating for me, seeing all the young girls excited about being active. Being able to share my story of how much sport has influenced my life and how I’ve learned so many things that I will be able to apply my whole life," the Canadian explains.
"The Rocky Mountain Soap Co. women and girls run in Canmore is a favourite event of mine! This is the one event where girls 4-7 get to participate and seeing them run their hearts out is always a blast! I also love this event because we get to see all these amazing women being active and setting a good example for young girls and women!"
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HEY GIRL, The Fast and Female Girls Run presented by @rockymountainsoapco in Canmore is SOLD OUT on Sunday May 26th, but there are spots STILL AVAILABLE for Saturday May 25th. 💕 Make sure to get your spot before they sell out! ✨ 💗 We are also looking for ambassadors to register and attend BOTH days! 💗 Photo: @jonhuyer
Working towards equality
Although more and more projects and initiatives to empower girls and women are happening, by the age of 14, girls are still 1.5 more likely to drop out of sports than boys.
"Things are absolutely getting better. Lots of great progress has been made toward gender equity in sport", Crawford says and lists three main aspects that are particularly important to keep girls in sports.
- Create Social Belonging: "Each of us can make a difference in creating a positive and inclusive team culture - girls need social acceptance to stay engaged in sports"
Health: "In mind, body and spirit"
Role Models: "You can’t be what you can’t see! Identify, elevate, and celebrate female role models and their stories."
With her career having come to a close this spring, the Canmore-native hopes to continue her work with and for Fast and Female in the future: "I plan on being involved with F&F as much as possible. I worked as their social media coordinator last year April - November and will see how I can be more involved going forward!"
Many thanks to Rosanna Crawford for taking the time; for more information visit the Fast And Female website!