Women have always been a healthy part of the action and adventure spheres, from pioneers in young sports like skateboarding and snowboarding to record-breakers in centuries-old pursuits like skiing and surfing. Female pros continue to advance their sports, encourage other women of all ages to try something new (or keep after their favorite activity) and speak up for the causes that matter to them, from gender equality to access to a healthy lifestyle.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are four women who not only excel as athletes, but also enact change for the better. (Believe us, this was a tough shortlist.)
Skier Lindsey VonnLindsey Vonn is one of the greatest skiers of all time. Not only is she an amazing athlete, but she is a media darling and she uses that attention for good. She started the Lindsey Vonn Foundation to empower young women and create a strong sense of community in future generations of skiers.The non-profit is still in its first year, but she has already hosted a summer seminar to empower young women in Vail, Colorado.
Skateboarder Cindy WhiteheadFormer professional skateboarder Cindy Whitehead made headlines for skateboarding down the I-405 freeway in Santa Monica, California. She doesn’t let much deter her and is hoping to encourage young girls to also live life to the fullest. Whitehead has personally waged war against the misuse of the word “girl” (e.g., “You skateboard pretty good for a girl”) through her “Girl is NOT a 4 letter word” campaign. She hopes more women will pick up skateboarding.
Surfer Sally Fitzgibbons
Sally Fitzgibbons was the first person ever to hold the U.S. and Australian Open of Surf titles at the same time after winning both in 2004.
Since surfing has given her a livelihood, she wants to give back to young Australians. Through her foundation, she hopes to curb childhood obesity and encourage kids to spend 30 minutes a day doing physical activities.
Snowboarder Hannah TeterOlympic gold medalist Hannah Teter‘s amazing snowboarding abilities have brought her tons of success, but it’s her work off the slopes that lands her on this list. She has advocated against the body shaming of women after she received criticism for posing nude in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
She also started a nonprofit foundation, Hannah’s Gold, which has brought clean drinking water to a rural African town. The foundation has donated school fees, farming tools and seeds and supported sustainable farming initiatives in Kirindon, Kenya.
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