You throw like a girl

CAPTION

It's now a high compliment.

Portions of this article are extracted from "Female Athletes Honored" by Christina Millweard, KOMU-TV, January 27

"You throw like a girl" used to be a put down, but thanks to the efforts of some mid-Missouri women, it's now a compliment.

More than 300 female athletes from around the state gathered as a part of the 12th annual Women's Intersport Network awards luncheon held at Columbia College on January 27. The organization seeks to highlight the importance of female participation in physical activities.

The group gave out ten awards to athletes and their supporters. Cindy Fotti, Columbia College assistant director of athletics, won mentor of the year for her tireless efforts in organizing the college’s golf classic and the 2007 NAIA volleyball championships. Fotti also received the 2008 College Division Rising Star Award by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Other awards include sportswoman of the year Sarah Breier, a triathlete from Australian who moved to Columbia six years ago and competed in 10 triathlons last season; and youth athlete of the year 11-year-old Carly Offerdahl, Smithton Middle School, who has won three world titles in tae kwon do.

"Statistics show that women that are involved in sports develop wonderful traits from athletic endeavors — better health, more team playing, more entrepreneurship. It's just a better life style," said WIN member Susan Gray.

Offerdahl said her favorite part of playing sports is "to be able to be with your friends and have competition and learn."

Carly's dad, David Offerdahl, is glad his daughter plays four sports. He thinks that basketball, tae kwon do, soccer and volleyball have given her more than just physical health and stamina.

"The girls she is associated with on all four of her sports are good quality girls, so she is hanging around good quality people all the time," he said. "They make the right decisions, and for a father, making the right decisions is a big deal."

Olympic Gold Medalist Nikki Stone spoke at the event to inspire and encourage the mid-Missouri female athletes. At the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, Stone became America’s first-ever Olympic Champion in inverted aerial skiing. What made this performance inspirational was that less than two years earlier, a chronic injury prevented Nikki from standing, much less walking or skiing, off a 12-foot wall of snow that launches aerialists five stories into the air.

"There's so many elements that I've learned from sports and I really think it's important for girls, like the girls that are here today, to be able to embrace that and build upon that," Stone said.

Sporting women nationwide also will celebrate the 23rd National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 4.

For more about the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport visit the NAGWS Web site and the Columbia chapter of WIN's Web site.

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