Meryl Davis changed the way I see female athletes

She's the Olympic Gold Medalist you've probably never heard of

I have many female role models in many different areas of my life. Role models in faith, for example, or role models as a writer. But if you asked me to pick just one all-around role model, I would have to say Meryl Davis. Davis is an Olympic Gold Medalist in ice dance, a sport that resembles figure skating but with partners. She performs with her partner Charlie White, and is the and Dancing with the Stars Season 18 winner along with partner Maks Chmerkovskiy.

[bctt tweet=”If you asked me to pick just one all around role model I would have to say Meryl Davis.” username=”wearethetempest”]

So what is it exactly that makes me look up to her? The fact that she accomplished all that while only a scant two inches taller than I am. Short women unite!

In all seriousness, though, there are a plethora of good qualities that Davis has that I admire.

1. Determination.

The Wire

Many of Davis’ accomplishments required a serious amount of dedication to her goals. Training at an Olympic level requires hours of workouts, drilling moves, learning choreography, fixing mistakes,  and perfecting choreography. Not to mention that Davis’ work was often done on top of a student schedule. This kind of dedication is an inspiration to me when I’m stressed out with schoolwork and everything I’m juggling on top of that and need a reason to keep going.

2. Fitness

Meryl Davis’ Instagram

My goal is not to become any type of Olympic athlete. In fact I’m much the opposite, and many sports do not come naturally to me. But having a role model with physical activity as such an important part of her life does make me reconsider its importance. I probably won’t ever be as fit as Davis, but I can take better care of my body than I have been doing.

3. Dedication to schoolwork

It is hard to be a Wellesley College student and not notice a good dose of dedication to schoolwork. Davis graduated from high school with honors  and despite the fact that she no longer needs it for career purposes, she is still working to graduate from the University of Michigan. All this despite a hectic travel schedule, as well as having dyslexia, which makes schoolwork more difficult for her. As someone who admires intellect, I find hers absolutely one to admire.

4. Teamwork ethic

In today’s increasingly cooperative world teamwork is undoubtedly important. I definitely see this in Davis, who partnered with White for  seventeen years before winning the Olympics and still travels and works with him extensively post-Olympics. Seventeen years! I can only imagine (and admire) a partnership like that. Her ability to effectively work with someone also no doubt helped her with her partner Chmerkovskiy in yet another successful endeavor. This dedication to teamwork reminds me how important it is as a skill, and how much I want to cultivate long-lasting relationships like that too.

[bctt tweet=”Seventeen years! I can only imagine (and admire) a partnership like that” username=”wearethetempest”]

5. Kindness

The Huffington Post

Alongside White, Davis is an active participant in a program called Classroom Champions, mentoring a classroom full of young children. She is also consistently kind to fans and others both online and in person. No matter how famous or busy she gets, she makes time to do this, and that inspires me to be a kinder, more giving person.

6. Courage

Davis recently gave a TED talk where she openly discussed her dyslexia and the self-doubt that it brought. She mentions in the talk that she did it in hopes of helping or inspiring even one other person. This takes serious guts, and is another of the qualities that I look for in a role model, because when I’m trying to be open and vulnerable it’s inspiring to know that one of my favorite role models does that too.

[bctt tweet=”Guts is another of the qualities that I look for in a role model, because sometimes life requires more courage than you think you have.” username=”wearethetempest”]

7. Amazing fashion sense

Just Jared Jr

Davis is a major tough who also looks amazing. She is the brand ambassador for two clothing lines, Vera Bradley and a sportswear company, Stable 26, proving that toughness and a traditionally feminine look are not mutually exclusive. This reminds me that the tough, determined hardworking person that I often am is not at odds at all with the pretty, girly person that I occasionally want to be, or am.