LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Shot putter Michelle Carter poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot at Quixote Studios on November 19, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Shot putter Michelle Carter. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

A discussion the other night amongst my friends showed why the Olympics matter – we all agreed that for two weeks every four years we sit glued to the TV watching sports that we normally wouldn’t watch if they were being held in our back gardens. Some of the most popular sports amongst the group were gymnastics, boxing, rowing (Ireland had great success in this event) and any event that Usain Bolt was competing in. One sport that no one mentioned (or thought about) was the shot put, but one woman may have changed that for future Olympics.

Michelle Carter became the first woman from the United States to win a gold medal in the event and in doing has not only raised her own profile but that of the sport as well. The favourite to win the event was Valerie Adams who had won gold in the event four years ago in London. It was with her final throw that she managed to throw the ball a distance of 20.63 meters. Michelle has been competing in the event for over 15 years and has a strong family connection to it with her father winning silver in the event at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

As I’ve said before, the beauty of the Olympics is that it gives amateur athletes the opportunity to propel themselves to national and international attention, and the positive effect it can have on their life. As well as training in the shot put, Michelle is a qualified and practicing makeup artist and is currently in the process of creating a ‘You Throw Girl’ sports camp which will aim to encourage young women and girls to participate in sports, which is a great way to give back to the sport. More information on Michelle and her various endeavours can be found on her website shotdiva.com.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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