When Kulsoom Abdullah found CrossFit Atlanta several years ago, it was her desire to learn the Olympic lifts that brought her there.
“I had the drive. I really wanted to learn lifting, and I really wanted to go do it,” she says.
She either ignored the stares or tried to be assertive and talk to people. But not all women are like that, notes Abdullah, who last year became the first woman to lift in sanctioned U.S. Olympic-weightlifting competitions while wearing traditional Muslim dress covering the head, arms and legs.
That’s why it’s important to reach out and be encouraging to women of all cultural and religious backgrounds, she says.
“Maybe go out to communities and try to encourage them to do it because a lot of times
they just don’t have that initial motivation or encouragement, and I think that would definitely
help the CrossFit sport to grow.”
In general, it’s always going to be intimidating for women to walk into a gym “because when they see the workouts and they see what people do, they still don’t think that it’s something that they can do,” Abdullah says. “It’s always hard for me to convince even women that I know personally to go and do this kind of stuff.”
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Additional reading: Girls Ride Horses, Too by Bill Starr, published March 1, 2011.