In case you’re not up-to-date on your hashtag abbrevs (that’s an abbreviation for abbreviation), #WCW means Woman Crush Wednesday. I think it’s silly to say that I have a woman crush or a man crush (it can just be a crush, y’know?), but I love the alliteration. ANYWAY, I want to share with YOU a couple of women who I have just been amazed by this week. You may have seen them on television.
I’m going to start with JJ Javelet because of the two, she’s probably the woman you’ve heard less about. JJ is one of the players on the USA Women’s Rugby Sevens team. Like me (and like a lot of US rugby players), she started playing the sport late – she’s 31 now, but has only been playing for two years. Her story is basically one made for the movies. More details are written here, but the short version is that in high school she suffered severe mental illness and tried to attempt suicide; one college field hockey recruiter’s interest in her kept her going through and after completing treatment in an institution. Despite a strong university career, she was not selected for the 2008 Beijing team and instead moved to Germany to play field hockey. When JJ came back to the US, she played a couple of seasons in a women’s professional American football league; in 2014 she was about to settle into a field hockey coaching job at a university when she got a call from the USA Rugby Sevens coach. Although she had never seen her play rugby, he saw tapes from her football career and saw her potential as a rugbier. She has incredible speed and agility, which is like a cha-ching of points.
And that’s how this amazingly fast and agile athlete went from field hockey to American football to rugby. I have no chance of ever being like her because I am neither fast nor agile, but as I watched her make tries in the Olympic games, I was definitely wishing I was her.
You know this woman right? Katie Ledecky, human swimming machine. I’m sure she could swim 50m before I swam 25m – I wonder if even that is being generous to myself. At 19, she is already swimming in her second Olympics. In between the 2012 London games and now, she’s been busy racking up medals in world championships. Not just medals; world records – she broke 11 during those four years. ELEVEN!
If you consider also that in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, swimmers were all about high-tech full-body swimsuits that legitimately made them faster, and that since then those suits have been banned, swimmers in these times are up against records that were established by athletes in superhero suits. And I don’t know if you saw Katie’s 400m freestyle race on Sunday August 7, when she beat her own world record by one minute fifty seconds (THAT IS SO MUCH TIME!!), but if you haven’t, watch it immediately. It’s incredible. She is a full body-length ahead of her own world record time line the entire race, and ends almost 4 body lengths in front of the next racer. Even her teammate Leah Smith, who won the bronze in the race, looked at the scoreboard and just said in awe, “3:56?!?!”
I would post the video here, but it turns out I can’t actually see any of the NBC clips in this country, so you just get this: