Fast and Female Champ Camp gives females a look at sports

Published: Sunday, Oct. 7 2012 9:00 p.m. MDT

Fast and Female was actually started in 2005 by Chandra Crawford (2006 gold medalist) and the Canadian women's cross country team. Her younger sister, Rosanna Crawford was in Park City Sunday encouraging girls to investigate the sport of biathlon (target shooting and cross country ski racing).

This is the second year in a row the group has hosted a clinic in Park City. Among the women working with the girls was the first World Champion in women's ski jumping, Lindsey Van, and Adaptive skier Danelle Umstead, who won a bronze medal in paralympic Alpine ski racing in 2010.

The women shared their thoughts on sports, while offering encouragement and maybe a bit of inspiration to the girls, who stood in line after the camp to collect autographs and high fives.

Sophie McDonald is a 16-year-old Park City High student who is also a cross country ski racer. She is lucky on this breezy Sunday afternoon because the athlete she admires most is at the camp — Randall.

"It's just really motivating to see all the (women) who are all very successful," said McDonald. "I like it just being girls at the camp. It's good to tell girls they can do things like this."

Randall doesn't hesitate when asked what she's gained from years of competing in sports.

"I've gained confidence in myself to achieve whatever I set my mind to," said the 29-year-old, who was born in Murray, Utah, but moved to Anchorage at age 3. "I have this incredibly strong, fit body and I have the energy and ability to do anything I want to. And I just love the energy of (sports)."

Liz Stephen organized Sunday's event in Park City, and said the key to convincing girls to embrace sports throughout their lives is simple — they have to enjoy the games.

"They have to really fall in love with it as kids," said Stephen. "This is so rewarding at the end of the day. You look around at the girls are dancing in a bunch of pink, and there is never anyone frowning. The energy we get as athletes working with these kids is amazing."

And while all the athletes acknowledge women have made significant progress in the last 40 years, they're quick to point out that women still need education, support and opportunities.

"We've definitely come a long way since Title lX, in terms of our participation," said Randall. " But we still have a long way to go to make sure everybody stays active."

Email: adonaldson@desnews.com twitter: adonsports

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