“I do have hope for women’s equality when men and women come together to insist on it.”Alexandra Allred
Alexandra Allred, an athlete, author, environmental advocate, and fitness instructor, shared the story behind her title with us on March 1, 2023.
Alexandra made sports (and medical) history through activism and determination. When she learned that women were not allowed in bobsled, she lobbied for equal status with a relentless letter-writing campaign. It had not yet occurred to her that she had no idea how to actually bobsled. As a former fighter in martial arts, she had only cared that women were banned from a sport deemed “too dangerous” and “too fast.”
When told that the women’s program had no by-laws and was therefore unofficial, Allred co-authored the first U.S. women’s bylaws and helped secure a sponsor. She ultimately won the U.S. Nationals in September 1994, making sports history as she was named to the first-ever U.S. women’s bobsled team. When the United States Olympic Committee named her Athlete of the Year for her sport, it made international news that Allred was also pregnant.
At the time, there was very little data on elite pregnant athletes who did powerlifting and plyometrics. While Allred became the “poster child” of the Case Western OB/GYN international study, Allred was squatting 375 lbs. and clocked at 20 MPH sprints into her second trimester. The results of this study changed how to measure the safety of baby in utero for competitive athletes. Both the United States and International Olympic Committee used Allred’s training data as a safety guide for pregnant athletes and she served as a fitness/nutrition expert for two decades. Upon retirement, Sports Illustrated asked her to try out for a women’s professional football team and write about her experiences in the award-winning book, Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sport (Wish Publishing). Allred later became the first American (male or female) to test drive the Volvo Gravity car for Volvo magazine in North America.
Asked how she became such an “adrenaline junkie,” Allred jokes that it probably began as a child when she made a game of outrunning KGB agents on her skateboard through the city of Moscow, Russia in the late 1970s. As the daughter of the U.S. Diplomat, Allred’s upbringing was anything but normal.
Allred turned to writing while rearing three children. She earned her 4th degree black belt in martial arts and turned to projects of empowerment for others, working with the special populations, teaching self-defense for women and children but also fought to have women included in the Olympic Games (in bobsled). She changed protocol for elite coaches (as well as the USOC and IOC) in regards to physical training for pregnant athletes and their babies; testified before the IOC at the London Games; served as an Air Ambassador, lobbied on Capitol Hill, was nominated as a White House Champion of Change for Public Health and is an award-winning documentary filmmaker/author.
Today, Allred is an adjunct professor at Tarleton State University and continues to write/research and work with those living with special needs.
Alex made history through activism and sheer determination after learning that women were not allowed to participate in bobsled. She lobbied for equal status by launching a relentless letter-writing campaign at the powers-that-be. Although she had no idea how to actually bobsled, she cared that women were banned from a sport deemed “too dangerous” and “too fast” and decided to do something about it. Watch Alex talk about the life experiences she had including Dyslexia and a sexual assault that led to her determination to help others.
Listen to our interview with Heather below, on your favorite podcasting app, or watch on 6abc.com!
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