because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tegla Loroupe

One of 24 children in her family in Kenya, Tegla Loroupe was raised as women often are in many cultures: as a beast of burden. Starting at age five, she carried water, she carried firewood, she carried babies on her back. Seen as "just a woman," Loroupe was not bought clothes or sent to school until her mother and older sister started pushing her to get an education. "If you own things of your own," they told her, "men won't own you."

She believes that the pain of her early life made it possible for her to be the Olympic champion runner she eventually became. And in 1994, Loroupe at only 4'11" and 82 pounds, won the New York City Marathon. Returning home, women in her Pokot ethnic group welcomed her, saying, "You showed that we are like the men. We can do things. We are not useless."

Loroupe has set world records, organized Peace Marathons in her homeland, and served to further diplomacy and peace around the world.  So, it was hardly surprising in June of 2011, when the International Olympic Committee honored six women (one from each continent and one from the world at large) for their athletic achievements and work promoting women's sports, Loroupe was awarded the world trophy. In-your-face women are in a category by themselves.

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