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BCS: Aisha Praught-Leer Athlete Highlight

by Zwift
on January 26, 2021

“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of Black role models in middle-distance running. It just wasn’t a prevalent image that I saw as a kid—so I didn’t see myself becoming a professional middle-distance runner because there wasn’t an example for me. But now, being a professional Black middle-distance runner in North America, I feel very visible because there aren’t a lot of people who look like me at the top of sport. There are a few, but again, not many. It’s not normal to see people like me in those spaces. So I put a lot of pressure on myself to show up in my races and in training. I want to represent myself, my country, the Black community at large in a way that says, “you can do it, too” and to be the role model that I didn’t have when growing up. I want to use my platform and my privilege to lend a ladder to someone else. However, I think one big challenge that Black athletes face is that we aren’t always valued as much off the field of play as we are on the field of play. And that is so damaging when your value as a human is placed on what you can offer someone else on a sports team. When you’re only as good as your last game or your last race, that’s not only damaging to self-esteem and self-worth, that’s tragic. But there are ways the community can help with this. If you want to support the efforts of the Black community, the easiest place to start is to examine your life and look at what it is you do, who you interact with, what privileges you have and figure out what it is that you have to offer. What can you do within your normal scope of things? If everybody took that small step of just building into their lives a way to reach a hand out to your neighbor, I think we’d be in a much better situation.” - Aisha Praught-Leer

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