Champion Snowboarder Kelly Clark Speeds Past Gender Barriers
Entertainment The three-time Olympic medalist and celebrated X Games champion has redefined her sport while inspiring others.
At the age of seven, Kelly Clark attempted snowboarding for the first time. There was clearly no turning back.
“I fell in love with it and started competing in high school. I quickly found out I enjoyed competition and qualified for the U.S. team in 11th grade.”
Achieving Olympic glory
As a teenager, Clark recorded the snowboard event from Nagano, Japan — the first time snowboarding was featured in the Olympics.
"I watched it on a VHS tape after school and knew this is what I wanted to give my life to. As I pursued it, I progressed, and in the process of going after that, Olympic dream records were set.”
“I hope I have inspired people to believe that anything is possible.”
Capturing gold at the 2002 games was incredibly fulfilling for Clark, but, surprisingly, not what she considers her proudest achievement.
“I actually value my bronze medals the most, as they came with a fight. Getting back on the Olympic podium for both those Olympics was the hardest, most rewarding and best part of my competitive career. It 's one thing to have success and another to sustain it.”
Weighing the lessons
“Sports have taught me life is much better when it isn't all about you. I have enjoyed the community and the people I've gotten to do life with through snowboarding.”
Clark, the most dominant competitive snowboarder, male or female, adds, “Sports have a way of measuring things. There's always a winner, and it's based around performance and rewards. The very nature of sports makes it easy for gender equality to be viewed and measured.”
“I was never the best snowboarder. I just kept working and made the most of the opportunities I had. My advice for parents would be to create opportunity for sports and always believe in your kids."
Adds Clark, “I hope I have inspired people to believe that anything is possible. My life is a testament that dreams really can come true."