Yasmeen cover photo
Women in Cycling
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

How Yasmeen Watson will #LeadHerForward

By: Cecilia Patten  February 03, 2021

In honor of the 35th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, USA Cycling shares stories from Girls and Women in cycling who will #LeadHerForward.

Sports are much more than just a game or just a competition. Sports are an opportunity to learn more about yourself and develop skills that will benefit you in and out of competition. National Girls and Women in Sports Day is all about celebrating and encouraging the involvement of females in sports, so more women can emerge as leaders in sports and life.

We had the opportunity to ask cyclists in our community what sport has meant to them throughout their lives and how they will #LeadHerForward!

Here is what Yasmeen Watson had to say:

What has sport meant to you throughout your life?

Sports really are and can be whatever you want them to be. Some view sports as just something fun to do, while others love the opportunity to be competitive and share a skill set. I personally really like the idea of using sports as an outlet and pushing myself to be the best that I can be. No matter what I am doing, I always strive for greatness, so I shift that mentality to sports as well. I’m not saying I’m the best at everything that I do, but I always strive to do my personal best, and sports are always a great opportunity to push limits.

How did you get involved in your sport/ or sport in general?

I’ve been active, playing sports my entire life. The first organized sport that I played was basketball. I adored my brothers growing up, and they played basketball, so as their shadow I followed suit. Whenever they went to the basketball courts in our neighborhood I joined them and when I couldn’t play I would just watch and wish I was playing. As I got a little older I continued to play, and tacked on field hockey and track along the way. I hated running but I was a sprinter, as a means to stay fit for other sports. And I loved field hockey - I kind of stumbled into it, but my speed and tenacity allowed me to hold my own amongst my peers who had personal trainers and worked at the sport all year round.

When it comes to cycling, I realize that I’ve always had an affinity for bikes, but purchased a road bike in the Spring of 2020. I would say that I’ve always been a biker, but just over the past year have I began to learn technique, strategy, and the mechanics of being a cyclist.

What advice would you give your younger self?

If I had the opportunity to talk to my younger self I would say to always be yourself. I always appeared confident to others, but feeling that in your core is more important than anything, and is imperative in leading your own life and personal journey. When you are yourself you will always be at peace because you will constantly be aligning with what your own personal wants and needs are, regardless of external expectations.

How will you #LeadHerForward?

I will #LeadHerForward by continuing to not mentally box myself in because of any stereotypical limitations or external noise. I will continue to enjoy, participate and be a part of all spaces that I wish, inquiring about access when it is not openly given, and pushing boundaries when they are before me. By continuing to put myself out there, I will continue to encourage the women around me and my future daughter(s) to play sports and take up as much space as they want when doing so. Growing up being an athlete often felt like putting yourself in a box as a girl, but I never allowed other people’s constraints to stop me from doing the things that I love, and I hope that by my continuing to get out and stay active through sports that I can be an example to other girls and women to do the same.

What are you doing or wanting to do to inspire girls and women in sport?

Simply showing up. By continuing to participate in sports and genuinely enjoy myself while doing so, I know that I am playing my part in inspiring girls and women in sport because I constantly get inquiries about how others can participate in cycling. By leading by example, consistently not being afraid to do the things that I genuinely enjoy, I am able to give others the confidence to do so as well. Action builds traction.

Want to share how you will #LeadHerForward? Send your story to cpatten@usacycling.org!