From learning to swim at four, watching her uncle doing Ironman and taking part in her first triathlon at the age of eight, Jodie Stimpson has very much so had sport at the centre of her life from an early age.
And as the double Commonwealth champion aims to add to her medal tally at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Jodie reflects on the journey the sport has made with her over the years.
“It’s just great to be a part of triathlon when it’s developing so quickly. There is a network that covers specifically women in triathlons so there are these things in place all around the world that are helping to grow triathlon for women.
“It’s great for the sport as a whole too that women are just as popular as men in triathlon now.”
Following a successful summer for the sport, women’s participation in triathlon is now higher than ever before, according to British Triathlon.
With this week being Women’s Sport Week, it has been announced by British Triathlon that:
‘Since April 2012, the number of female Home Nation Association members has increased by 86%, with recent figures showing that 50% of GO TRI registrations are females. In addition, 30% of qualified triathlon coaches are women, compared to a national sporting average of 17%.’
And Jodie, from the West Midlands, is able to notice the change in the triathlon environment from when she began competing.
“Women’s sport is absolutely massive now. When I started, it was all about the men, especially at elite level but now it’s evened itself out. It is of course great to see the boys doing so well, as are the women and it’s all helped people take up and try triathlon.”
Commenting on what has helped the growth of the sport over the years, Jodie believes that triathlon superstars Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee have played a key role, especially after such strong performances at this year’s Olympic Games.
“They are amazing and they have done the most for the sport and have really raised the bar for sport and make us all want to do better.”
After the disappointment of not making the Team GB squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jodie is fully focused on the next major competition where she hopes to join the Brownlee brothers in Team England camp on the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Gold Coast 2018 is most definitely on my radar. I have a lot of friends on the Gold Coast and have spent quite a few years there so I think it will be an amazing Commonwealth Games. It’s definitely my top priority to be a part of Team England again.
“I am no doubt aiming for further Commonwealth success. Next year is all about trying to qualify for the team, which I will hopefully do a year out, and then concentrate on the Commonwealth Games. It’s definitely the ‘A’ race for the next two years.”
Team England has recently been asking its fans and athletes who they feel should be the next flagbearer for Team England at Gold Coast 2018, with many suggesting Jodie for the role.
“It would be such an honour to be flagbearer in 2018.” Jodie said. “It was such an honour to be a part of Team England in Glasgow and it gives me goosebumps just to think about making the team again and to have that honour would be amazing.
“It’s extremely special for me to represent Team England, it’s a really big achievement to be able to put on that red and white and to represent something that is so special to me makes the race even more spectacular.”