Olympic champion Chandra Crawford has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee for her efforts to positively empower girls in sport.
Crawford was honoured as the Continental Trophy winner for the Americas at the 2018 IOC Women and Sport Awards presented on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more than a decade, Crawford has been changing the culture around girls in sport through her organization, Fast and Female, which aims to keep girls happy and active in sport through their teenage years so that they are more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives.
Crawford was inspired to create Fast and Female after meeting a 10-year-old who told her she didn’t like being a girl because they couldn’t do fun things such as skateboarding and instead had to be more concerned about their physical appearance. Fighting such stereotypes while working towards changing some alarming statistics – such as girls dropping out of sport six times more often than boys in their early teens – have been key aims of Fast and Female. The organization combats a feeling of lack of social belonging by hosting fun-filled, non-competitive events across North America.
Over the last 10 years, Fast and Female has annually reached more than 3000 girls aged 8 to 18, inspiring them with a team of athlete ambassadors which includes Olympic athletes, coaches, and high performance fitness trainers. Among the 250 ambassadors from 25 sports are PyeongChang 2018 Olympic medallists Alex Gough, Brianne Jenner, Kaetlyn Osmond, Kaillie Humphries, and Kelsey Serwa.
In April, Crawford, who won cross-country skiing’s individual sprint at Turin 2006, was announced as a member of the 2018 induction class for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
The IOC Women and Sport Awards were established in 2000. Each year, one World Trophy and five Continental Trophies are given to women, men, or organizations that have made remarkable contributions to the development, encouragement, and reinforcement of women’s participation in sport. Winners are also supported with a grant to help them continue and extend their work on gender equality.
This year’s other award recipients include:
World Trophy Winner Eczacibasi Sports Club in Turkey, for the success it has had after being the first Turkish sports club to focus resources exclusively on women’s volleyball;
Africa Trophy Winner Rachel Muthoga of Kenya, a former human rights lawyer whose organization “Moving the Goalposts Kilifi” uses football to build confidence and self-esteem in vulnerable girls and young women;
Asia Trophy Winner Samar Nassar of Jordan, a two-time Olympic swimmer who led the bid for and organization of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup along with surrounding events and programs to encourage young girls in sport;
Europe Trophy Winner Daina Gudzineviciute of Lithuania, Olympic trap shooting champion who as National Olympic Committee president has made Olympic Day activities more inclusive, especially for young female athletes;
Oceania Trophy Winner Lauren Jackson of Australia, a four-time Olympic basketball medallist for being a pioneer of her sport and using her profile to champion women’s causes, in particular helping victims of rape and domestic violence.
Crawford is not the first Canadian to be honoured with an IOC Women and Sport Award. Previous winners include Marion Lay (2001), Charmaine Crooks (2006), Abby Hoffman (2008) and Leslie McDonald (2010).