"Team USA’s Top Female Fencers Discuss Their Athletic Role Models on National Girls & Women in Sports Day."
Cori "Coco" Gauff is a female tennis player whose willingness to challenge herself in tough conditions motivates and inspires me. At the age of 15, she stunned the world during her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon, where she defeated seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams in the first round of the Australian Open. Although Coco is young, her dedication and passion for her sport allows her to thrive in conditions where she is often underestimated due to her age. Born two days after Coco, I also often compete at levels where I face adults with decades of experience. This often causes me to feel unconfident and unsure of my abilities before I start my bouts. However, by watching Coco Gauff's willingness to take intelligent risks on the court to win matches where she has less experience, I am inspired to transform my negative thoughts and fears into positive thoughts and adrenaline. This allows me to become fearless on the strip while trusting my action choices. Additionally, Coco's extensive knowledge of the sport reminds me to remain patient and thoughtful to find the right moment for every prep and touch. While Coco and I are the same age and are both competing in tournaments where we are often fencing more experienced and older fencers, her ability to control her emotions and the court due to her tenacity and focus sets her apart from older tennis players while inspiring the next generation of young athletes. When faced with adversities due to my age on the strip, I remind myself of Coco Gauff’s persistent attitude as she continues to be a prime example of a diligent and successful young woman in sport.