US Olympic swim champion, a rape survivor, fights abuse in sport
New York: Three years after the trauma of being raped by a stranger while jogging outside a university campus, American swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar lit up the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles by winning three gold medals and a silver.
Today, the 57-year-old lawyer, mother and activist devotes her life towards the fight for gender equality and the battle against sexual abuse in sport.
In an interview with AFP ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, Hogshead-Makar says she remains “unrealistically optimistic” about her work and life in general.
“I guess you have to be in order to try to win in the Olympics and try to address sexual abuse in sports,” Hogshead-Makar said. “They’re pretty audacious goals.”
The day before the interview, Hogshead-Makar had been working until the early hours drafting a letter to the US Congress about bipartisan legislation that calls for tougher protections for amateur athletes against abuse by coaches and employees.
Hogshead-Makar’s work ethic mirrors the dedication that formed the cornerstone of her swimming career — from the age of 11, she would spend four hours a day churning the waters of her training pool. – AFP