Friday, April 24, 2015

Pink women's sports clothes

Just some of my Pink Collection
You know when you’re running and your mind drifts off into random thoughts? Sometimes it’s work, grocery shopping, pay the bills – this morning for me it was pink.

I suddenly realised I was dressed almost head to toe in pink; right down to my supposedly blue shoes which have a large pink streak.

How did this happen? Panic-stricken I examined my basket of sports clothes at home, and there was more pink. T-shirts, swimming goggles, socks not to mention pink stripes or splodges on most black leggins or shorts. I even found pink hand-wraps for boxing.

Now I don’t think of myself as a pink person. But as I type this I realise that maybe I am a pinkie and have just  never accepted it. Or is that the sports industry tells me I need pink to balance out all that sweat and strength?

I googled “pink women’s sports clothes” and one of the first sites to come up was linked to Victoria’s Secret. Yes, the sexy underwear company.

Then this: “should women wear pink sport?” brought up over 77m hits. Seems I am not alone in feeling conflicted about wearing pink while doing sport.

The Atlantic has an interesting piece on how pink has been co-opted by the Breast Cancer movement; in effect meaning no sport team could neutrally use pink.

The blog Fit is a Feminist Issue points out that as I discovered most women’s sports clothing has pink somewhere on it. She said: “I will not be coerced into wearing pink, even if I like the colour.”

But one Powder Room blogger on Jezebel had the most worrying finding. She writes in the US calling someone “a pink hat” means a women who has no clue about sport but goes along in search of a man. Ouch.

How much pink in your workout wardrobe? Does it bother you?


Monday, April 20, 2015

Irish Paralympians Road to Rio

Sometimes I get to mix my love of sport with my actual job. Yesterday I had a story in the paper about four inspiring sports people from the world of Paralympics.

Irish Mail on Sunday PHOTOS Thomas Honan

The road to the Rio Paralympic Games 2016 starts this summer for would-be Irish contenders.

The games, which take place straight after the Olympics every four years, involve elite athletes competing in a range of sports classified depending on the extent of a competitor’s disability.

At the 2012 games in London, the Irish team of 49 athletes won 16 medals including eight golds.

ELLEN KEANE

ELLEN KEANE was born with one arm much shorter than the other, but says every centimetre counts when she’s in the water.

Now 20, the Dubliner was 13 when she competed at the Beijing Paralympics. She won two bronze medals at the last World Championships and hopes to do at least as well at the World Championships in Glasgow in July to earn a place in Rio next year.

‘For my category, my arm has to be one quarter of my right arm and I am on the borderline. They put me in different categories to race depending on the measurement.

It can be the difference between winning a medal or not – every centimetre has to be so precise,’ she says.

She balances sessions in the pool and the gym with study at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

‘My lecturers probably wonder who is that girl falling asleep all the time,’she says laughing.

‘It’s all about swimming.’

ORLA BARRY

Born without knees or shin-bones, Corkwoman Orla Barry, 25, had both legs amputated aged 11 months. But the Paralympic bronze medallist has never let this hold her back.

‘I just think nothing is too big to get in your way,’ she says. ‘Everyone in Paralympics has had to overcome something to get where we are.
'If you stick with something, and work hard at it no matter what is in the way, you can overcome anything.’

She throws a 1kg discus, the same as in the Olympics.

Deciding what to do with her prosthetic legs in competition can be tricky. ‘I went through a stage of wearing one and not the other. It’s all trial and error to try to get as much out of your body as you can.

'You’re trying different things, putting yourself in different positions… all strapped down maybe so your bum doesn’t lift as you throw.’

Orla spends much of her week driving to training in Wexford and Limerick. While she had 96 supporters with her in London, she jokes that not that many will make it all the way to Brazil.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Polish boxers are "Down but not Out"



A group of worried looking young people sit on a bus driving through the night, they try to play with their phones and chat nervously.  Only one man looks relaxed, slightly older than the others, he tries to joke but no-one is listening.

They are boxers heading to a tournament in their native Poland filmed for ‘Down but not Out’. The men appear to have some experience but the four women are first-timers. Cue tension. 

Readers of this blog can get a 50% discount when the documentary goes on sale through Vimeo in June. Discount for download with Promo code: “Niamh”

To my eyes the film-makers really capture the excitement, dread and humour of being a fighter. They take you from that bus, to a hostel (and obligatory toilet humour) right through the day of the fights.


Unlike an American or Irish film, they avoid taking the women - Daria, Anja, Alicja and Anja – or any fighters for ‘one to one’ chats with the camera.  Instead they draw you in with the camera until you are suddenly cheering for one or the other. This becomes complicated by problems besetting the female side of the show.

Anyone familiar with sport at all will love Coach Prezmek. Watching how he relates to the fighters, changing his approach between the men and women is fascinating. The pep talks in the bus going and returning from the show are worth the download price alone.

His best line? Trying to cheer up the fighters who lost, he says: “All of you are modelling clay” and encourages them to see the loss as just a step on the road to success. Not quite sure if it works going by the glum faces though!

I’ll post about this again closer to launch time in June.
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