Lea Olson Visits KIPP

Our KIPP site was excited to welcome sports journalist Lea B. Olsen as a guest speaker last week. Lea, a former Gopher basketball player and sports reporter, recently started “Rethink The Win,” an organization dedicated to creating positive experiences for youth and families in the evolving world of competitive sports.

For the past few weeks, students at KIPP have been learning about athletes who have overcome challenges and broken barriers in sports. With a focus on gender equity, students learned about Title IX and women in sports media, as they read newspapers and websites to gather statistics on the amount of coverage on women’s sports versus men’s sports. They found that men’s sports had far more coverage in both local sports networks and large, national media outlets like the New York Times. Their findings inspired them to ask Lea about her thoughts on these issues: As a female journalist, do you face discrimination? Do you think men support women’s sports? How do you feel about men’s sports getting more attention than women’s sports?

Lea explained some of the challenges she faced as a female sideline reporter and analyst for the Timberwolves and Lynx, and more importantly she explained how she was able to break barriers and overcome those challenges.

Lea’s key message to students was the importance of balancing engagement in sports with academic excellence and involvement in other activities. Lea has found that in youth sports, there is a strong emphasis on winning and competition. Young people are encouraged to dedicate all of their time to excelling in their sport and miss out on other co-curricular experiences and academics. Lea emphasized the importance of dedication to school and other activities in addition to sports, something that ACES strives to encourage in student-athletes as well.