Bean On Elite Women Inspiring Junior Girls

April 18, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Mia Bean, a Bermuda Olympic Association Women in Sport Committee board member, believes the island’s young female athletes will be inspired watching the likes of Jamaican superstar Elaine Thompson-Herah at the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix next Sunday [April 28].

Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman alive, is among the top names confirmed for the premier athletics meet, having captured gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 before retaining both titles at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“You watch these elite female athletes compete on television, especially Elaine Thompson-Herah and the Jamaican sprinters, and they have such a presence,” Bean told Bernews.

“The opportunity to watch them in person and engage with them one-on-one is so important for our girls.”

Bermuda Grand Prix 2023 track and field meet USATF AW (84)

Bean, who also serves as the Bermuda National Athletics Association general secretary, admits there is a trend, locally and internationally, for girls to drop out of athletics, and sport in general, when they reach a certain age.

She hopes witnessing the greatness of Thompson-Herah at the Flora Duffy Stadium can play a small role in encouraging the island’s talented young females to keep competing.

“We’re still figuring out how to keep girls in athletics,” Bean said.

“They usually begin competing aged seven or eight and are committed, but there’s a point just after puberty when they start to fall off, whether because of boys or other interests.

“The real issue is figuring out the why. It won’t be until we understand why female athletes drop out of the sport that we can start retaining them.”

Bean, who is primarily involved in track and field, suspects there are many explanations for why girls stop competing.

She believes some quit because they do not feel they are good enough, a lack of encouragement and support, and a self-consciousness related to the body during adolescence.

“As a woman, sometimes your body changes, and something so easy before becomes more difficult,” Bean said.

“That can lead them to question, ‘Am I any good at this?’ Whereas boys go through puberty and become stronger and faster.

“Young girls can’t articulate that and perhaps don’t truly understand what’s keeping them away.”

According to Bean, coaches and parents can play a crucial role in reversing the trend and ensuring the island’s talented young females do not slip through the net.

“It’s a partnership between parents, coaches, and the supportive people in children’s lives,” she added.

“It’s important to let them know, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at this. I know you’re going through a hard time but stick with it.’

“Motivation and encouragement from parents are crucial. Sometimes it takes a little push from the people that care about us.”

The USATF Bermuda Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC from 5 pm to 7 pm.

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