Strong, determined, inspirational, ambitious – just some of the words used to describe the amazing female riders who grace the FISE stage.
Their tricks are slick and their whips are sick, and more and more women are getting involved in Action Sports each year. However there wasn't always the presence of female action sports athletes like we see at FISE events today.
Blader Precy Verdier tells us about the challenges she has faced since taking up the sport.
‘Blading was not really part of my social culture. It was very hard to start a sport with a lot of boys, so I went secretly at the beginning. I was blackmailing my mum to let me ride because she preferred that I stayed at home…’
When Precy started competing, there were no official women’s categories. Her only option? To kick it with the guys.
‘I competed with boys because there weren’t enough girls. And even when there were enough of us to make a category, we weren’t all recognised by the industry.’
Determined to make changes, Precy worked with FISE to mastermind a project for female representation in every category of action sport.
‘The project aimed to attract girls… getting them better hours, good prize money, and sponsors. FISE welcomed all this and created an official BMX category with a focus on women. I really appreciated it, because I believe our sport needs to support us.’
From “Roller Girl” in 2008 to women’s BMX, Roller and Skateboard categories by 2011, FISE provided a platform to show the action sports world exactly what they had been missing. For Precy, ‘FISE has helped a lot to enhance the image of women athletes across the globe.’
Today, action sports for women is evolving rapidly and with female riders now taking centre stage at some of the biggest FISE events, their participant numbers continue to rise: Montpellier recorded a 7% increase from 2018 to 2019.
Such platforms are essential if these women are to reach the pinnacle of their discipline. They help unite our community and inspire future generations, male and female. We all need inspirational role models: gender doesn’t – and shouldn’t – restrict who they are.
Although long, the journey to ensuring equal representation in action sports has been empowering – and it isn’t over yet. As Precy emphasises, ‘Everyone involved in our sports needs to support others and respect what they do, no matter their level or physicality.’
So… let’s hear it for the unstoppable force of FISE ladies… You rock!