Catching up with Roslyn and Breanna Clark
Ready, Set, Gold! Program Director Michaela Reynolds sat down with Olympian Roslyn Clark (1976 Olympic silver medalist) and Paralympian Breanna Clark (2016 Paralympic gold medalist) to discuss their careers, Black History Month, and female role models. Roslyn is Breanna's mother and coach and they are currently working toward Breanna's bid to make the 2020 Paralympic Team in track & field.
Q: How have sports impacted your life?
A: Sports have had a very positive impact on my life. I have had the opportunity to watch sports grow in my lifetime. When I was in high school, there was not a women's track team. Then Title 9 came along and opened more doors for women to compete just like the men. It has impacted me because it has helped to make me the person that I am today.
Q: What value in sports is most important to you and why?
A: I can't think of just one value in sports but the first one that comes to mind is that sports have taught me how to get back up after falling down or losing. All of the obstacles that I had to get over, go under and get through has made me a strong individual and I know that what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger.
Q: How do you feel African-Americans, especially African-American women, are represented in the Olympics Having seen the landscape of sport change throughout the last 40 years, what are your hopes for the future?
A: There are many African-American women in sports but my hope is that we will be more represented in sports like ice skating and swimming, and I hope that we can fill the gap, especially in winter Olympic sports where far less African-American athletes compete.
Q: How do you see your role in inspiring the next generation?
A: I hope that some young girls can look up to me and say 'I can do that'. Sports are wide open today for girls and women and I hope that they take advantage of this. I hope they go earn those scholarships and make money on professional teams because those things were not there for my generation.
Q: You’ve raised two children who are both successful athletes in their own right. In addition to your own accomplishments, were there other individuals/athletes that were important role models for your children?
A: I am sure there were and are many athletes that inspire and influence my kids to be successful. As an Olympic athlete myself and with my husband's time as an NFL athlete, my children were surrounded by our drive and motivation everyday at home. They grew up going to my track meets and still to this day experience meeting new role models as they are now competing in their own track meets.
Q: How have sports impacted your life?
A: Sports have impacted my life, because they gave me the opportunity to meet people, travel and sport has helped me to become who I am today.
Q: How do you feel African-Americans women are represented in the Paralympics and what do you hope to see in the future?
A: At the moment, representation is pretty small for African-Americans women in the Paralympics and I would surely like to see more. I would like to do what I can to get the word out so that more African-American women will get involved because many of them don't know about the Paralympics.
Q: How do you see your role inspiring the next generation?
A: I see myself as being one of the role models of my generation and inspiring women that are like me. When I say like me I mean women who have a mental challenge and might think that they can't do something, I want to inspire them to believe that they can do anything that they want to do. That’s very important to me.
Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
A: One of the most important things that I have learned is that playing sports has helped me to become more independent. It has helped me with my social skills and I have become a stronger individual because of playing sports.
Q: Having been raised by a mom who was a successful athlete, how has that impacted your outlook on what women can accomplish both on and off the field?
A: My mom has impacted me on and off the field by being supportive and helping me challenge myself to be the best version of me. I am lucky to have a coach that is also my mom because she always has my best interest at heart.
Q: Who are some of your role models?
A: Track & Field star Allyson Felix, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and tennis superstar Serena Williams.
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