Natali Villaruel, Khadijah Diggs, Erin Hamilton and John Young Discuss Triathlon and the Obstacles that Threatened to Keep Them Out

I was speaking with someone over the weekend and I mentioned the theme of the #Sweatworking Summit: equity and inclusion in wellness.

“Is anyone trying to keep people out?” was the question that followed.

And if you haven’t felt unwelcome in a space, like an “only,” or a “token” ever in your life, it takes effort – and a willingness to be uncomfortable – to see the signs of it. This panel from the #Sweatworking Summit – The Relationship Between Representation and Inspiration in Endurance Sports – is the answer to that question.

Yes, in big ways and in small ways, through systems and through rules, obstacles are created to impede athletes with different body shapes and sizes, skin tones, countries of origins, languages spoken, religions, and gender identities.

In this episode of #WeGotGoals, you’ll hear a recording of our panel from the #Sweatworking Summit titled, “The Relationship Between Representation and Inspiration in Endurance Sports.” You’ll hear from moderator and Team USA member Natali Villaruel as well as a panel of other athletes that she hand-selected: Khadijah Diggs, Erin Hamilton and John Young.

Kadijah Diggs’ mission is to promote a positive image of Muslim women and Islam in general through sport. Erin Hamilton’s passion and focus are fighting for transgender rights, equality and inclusion in all sports, as well as being a strong advocate for mental health and traumatic brain injury awareness. As the first person with dwarfism to race in an Ironman distance race, John Young loves to inspire others with Dwarfism to see their own potential through sport.

Each panelist shares stories from the starting line or from the triathlon transition area during which they had specific encounters or interactions with people who questioned their right to race.

You’ll hear them talk about how to cheer for someone you don’t know, what it’s like to buy a triathlon kit for a body larger than 2X, how some of the governing bodies of sport are setting rules without the people the rules impact at the table.

You’ll also hear Natali tell a harrowing tale of an international triathlon race that included a swim through jellyfish-infested waters.

If you love this episode as much as we do, subscribe to the #WeGotGoals podcast wherever you like to listen to podcasts, including on Apple and Spotify (and hey, leave us a rating while you’re at it!).


About Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of a premiere wellness media destination that creates content and community to help womxn live better lives and achieve their goals. Before founding health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison - and fresh out of college she worked on the '08 Obama campaign in Michigan. From there, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience in building community and her passion for wellness. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, trying to join a book club, and walking her dog Maverick.