It’s hard to believe 4 months have passed since the WST’s #BeAGameChanger (BAGC) awards, but the world of sport never stops turning, the inspirational individuals that were nominated and awarded winners continue to campaign, challenge and change the landscape of women’s sport.
A particular highlight of the awards for me was seeing Jessica Creighton win ‘Journalist of the year’. As a striving journalist and broadcaster myself, I have followed Jessica’s work and development in the industry and I have always idolised her fresh and unique approach to everything she does.
Jessica has worked at some of the biggest sporting events on the globe, with some of the world’s most prestigious broadcasters. From interviewing Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill at the 2012 London Olympics, to unearthing exclusive stories about an England footballer being homeless, Jessica has a wealth of experience as a dynamic and engaging broadcaster.
Jessica currently has a regular slot on our TV’s presenting sports bulletins on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire Show and the BBC News Channel. Her admirable rise in the industry makes her a role model to many women and young journalists, myself included. So I was keen to find out more about Jessica and the importance of role models in her life and sport.What difference has winning a BAGC 2015 award made to you?
It’s raised my profile. People are more aware of my work and my women’s sports blog ‘Women Who Like Sport’. It’s also made me aware of the other people and organisations out there doing incredible work to bring about gender equality in sport.
Who were your role models and why? What impact did they have on you?
I have many sportspeople who have influenced me in my life. I’ve interviewed an incredible array of sportswomen during my career and I take a slice of inspiration from each of them. For example, I remember being glued to my TV as a child watching Denise Lewis win heptathlon gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. For my blog I spoke to Monique Newton who had to deal with cancer and depression before becoming World Powerlifting Champion. There are so many brilliant and resilient sportspeople out there.
Why do we need role models?
Role models inspire. They advise, support and also encourage. They lead the way for people to take up a new sport, or achieve a goal. Without my role models I wouldn’t have kept on pushing all these years for gender and race equality in sport.
What change would you like to see in women’s sport for it to progress?
I’d like to see more passionate women’s sports coverage in the media. As I’m part of that industry, I always make an effort to dig out women’s sports stories, but there needs to be a greater push by everyone across the industry to ensure the audience builds a rapport with all the fantastic personalities out there.
What advice would you give to other role models?
Even when you think someone isn’t watching what you’re doing, or doesn’t appreciate your work – keep going! You never know who you’re influencing and when a young person out there might see you, hear about you or come across your work and be inspired.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Grey, former Paralympic Swimmer, BBC Journalist and Women’s Sport Trust Board Observer