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The Women Who Inspire Us and Our Fitness Journeys - International Women’s Day Celebration

March 2023
OMORPHO TeamSmall weights. Big results.
Ajla Tomljanović wearing OMORPHO Women black hoodie

At OMORPHO we aim to simplify the pursuit of a fit life. We do that by not only creating groundbreaking fitness solutions using our patented MicroLoad technology but with our creative and diverse team that makes a positive impact in communities where we live and work. The month of March celebrates Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day so we asked members from our OMORPHO Crew and internal team to commemorate this occasion by sharing stories of “strength” that highlight female figures who have been instrumental in their athletic and fitness journeys and helped shape their life experiences. 

Ajla Tomljanović - OMORPHO Crew

Maria Sakkari is a fellow competitor, one of my really close friends and is someone that’s been very instrumental when it comes to fitness and my athletic journey. She loves the gym and has pushed herself to be fitter every year; from what she puts into her body to what she does in the gym, on the court, and recovery-wise as well. Her dedication to always finding that 1% to get better has been really inspiring to me and I have definitely learned a lot from her. 

Julie ‘Jaws’ Nelson - OMORPHO Trainer

I always find this question to be incredibly hard, mainly because I look for inspiration everywhere I can. There are many female figures who have been instrumental in my athletic and fitness journey although I’m going to highlight three in particular: 

Misty Copland: A trailblazer in the ballet world. I personally felt she had a major impact on me because she was athletic and strong as a ballet dancer at a time when that was not the norm. I was always told when I was in ballet I didn’t look the part, I was too muscular.  Misty also paved the way and broke barriers in many other ways offering inspiration beyond ballet. 

Bethany Hamilton: She overcame something impossible and defied the odds when it seemed impossible. She’s an important reminder of strength and perseverance. When things get tough I try to channel her mindset. 

Jen: My floor gymnastics teacher when I was younger.  She was also a firefighter. I remember being in awe and thinking, “women could do that?”  And she did it and was a badass.  She changed my perspective on gender stereotypes in sport, fitness and life.  

Claire Thomas - OMORPHO Trainer

My mom, without hesitation, has been the most impactful woman throughout my athletic career, and throughout my life in general. Growing up as a competitive athlete, my childhood days were completely consumed by my three sports. My mom genuinely loved it because she knew how much I did. She never missed a game and she felt every win, every loss and every crash on the hurdles just as hard as I did. She never complained when I would forget a shoe or a shin guard and she would have to race back home to get it before the game started. My mom was known as the "Team Mom." She was always present, she was always the loudest in the crowd, she was always and still is my biggest fan. I hope to be half the mom she is some day.

Tatyana Johnston - Sport Performance Lead, OMORPHO 

Misty Copeland has been my inspiration as a dancer and an athlete since I was little. Ballet, like all other sports, takes a serious amount of family support, money, time, and complete dedication. Misty’s journey wasn’t the typical journey of a prima - she had one some might consider a non-traditional “ballet body,” she started dancing at age 13, dealt with racism throughout her life, and only had the support of one parent. She inspires me because she barreled forward anyways, despite it being harder for her. She shows athletes everywhere that what sets you apart from others is your crown jewel, and to use it :)

Katie Marreel - Digital Product Manager, OMORPHO

Of the many women who have been by my side on my journey in pursuit of health and wellness, one woman stands out who made a big impact: Kiersten Lake. Kiersten was a group fitness trainer at Fit Academy in Portland, OR and she not only challenged a higher level of fitness in class, but she freely offered support and encouragement outside of the gym. She set an example of tenacity and perseverance. This amazing coach had beaten all odds surviving a bad accident as a teen, and she passed this fighting spirit to me. She walked me through new levels of self-confidence and taught me the joy of pushing myself through discomfort and challenge. 

I met Kiersten while fighting an overwhelming sense of defeat in my fitness journey, having been grounded from running with bad joints. She introduced me to indoor cycling and encouraged me not to give up as I struggled through the ranks of building strength and endurance in this new way of conditioning. I have since become a cycle coach myself, hoping to touch other lives the way she touched mine. I've also faced many challenges including a failing heart valve and open-heart surgery, joint replacement and other obstacles that could easily have been opportunities to let defeat and doubt get the better of me. Thanks to this amazing coach and other strong women who have fortified my resolve for health and wellness, I've been able to tackle them head-on and come out stronger on the other side. Tomorrow will bring more challenges, but I know that I'm not alone. Let's go!

Annie Kunz - OMORPHO Crew

My sister. She and I are 10 years apart so she has always been my role model in life and in track. She ran track for CSU and ended up being my track coach when I got to high school…that time was so special, I will always being so grateful to have been coached by my big sis. She would work with me whenever I had an hour outside of soccer practice (both sports were in the same season in Colorado so time was limited) to get some training in. She has always been my safe place and always been in my corner encouraging me to chase my dreams in this sport. She believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes and has helped me on so many levels get to where I am today. She is the most positive, level headed, easy going, encouraging big sister with truly the biggest heart of anyone I know and I couldn’t ask for a better role model in my life. I look up to her in more ways than she probably even realizes

Maria Fe Gonzalez - Consumer Service, OMORPHO

Billie Jean King immediately comes to mind when talking about someone who helped shape my athletic journey. Being one of the biggest baddies in tennis and also advocating for women's equal rights in sports, she is truly one of a kind! 

Diana Flores is another, more contemporary woman who inspires me. She is a woman of color who is pushing our gender forward in football and rewriting the history of women in sports. 

Traci Copeland - OMORPHO Trainer

My Mom has been instrumental in my athletic journey. She came to every single one of my gymnastics meets growing up . And she gave me so much encouragement and support especially when I fell off the beam (this happened a lot) or got injured. 

Another female figure I’d like to acknowledge was my first gymnastics Coach Judy Redman. She is also Black, which is rare for coaches in gymnastics. She was the definition of tough love. Without her coaching I would not have the discipline to train the way that I do today. Getting coached by her was how and when I became an athlete.

Irena Ilcheva - Product Development & Innovation, OMORPHO

My female sports idol is Steffi Graf. I admired her tennis skills and achievements of course, but mostly I envied how she carried herself. She was one of those extremely strong willed and strong-minded people during competition, however very kind and delicate in their personal life. She was humble and never demanded added attention. I always wanted to be that level headed on the court, poker faced but at the same time locked-in, fully determined to find a way to win. Even though she achieved so much in tennis, not many people talk about her or know her beyond the sport. I truly admire people who genuinely try and strive to do good in life and don’t make it about them or show off their deeds. It seems to me that those are the real heroes that we should be talking about. 

Mandy DiMarzo - OMORPHO Trainer

My childhood revolves around soccer.  It was the first sport I was ever introduced to and the sport that dominated my youth and in a lot of ways shaped my athletic career through college.  

Mia Hamm was a huge influence and inspiration for me.  Not only did she dominate the pitch, but she embodied what I now call grit and grace. She hustled and I loved that about her. She was a workhorse on the field and I remember reading how she was always the first to the practice fields and last to leave. That shaped my work ethic and helped me appreciate that even the best in the world have to practice.  But what stood out the most was not her prowess but her humility.  She was the most humble player on the field. She would score goal after goal after goal over the course of her career and the way she carried herself with such class left such an impression I wanted to emulate.  

Work hard. Harder than anyone else. When no one is watching.  Show up early. Stay late. Don’t take anything for granted no matter how good you are, you can always be better.  

If/when you reach success…remain humble. Always. 

The month of March celebrates Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day so we asked members from our OMORPHO Crew and internal team to commemorate this occasion by sharing stories of “strength” that highlight female figures who have been instrumental in their athletic and fitness journeys and helped shape their life experiences. 

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