Look up the definition of firecracker in the dictionary and you’ll likely see a picture of Jenny Egan. An International Canoeist, Jenny is one of Ireland’s top competitive athletes and has so many competitions and medals under her belt, you’d be forgiven for not keeping up!
On top of her incredible canoeing career, Jenny holds a Bachelor of Science First Class Honours Degree in Athletic Therapy and Training, won an award for her final year thesis, is the only athlete-member of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Committee and is a growing presence on the media circuit, participating in panels and as the subject of a multitude of articles.
She’s a force to be reckoned with and her passion for advancing the visibility of women in sport has seen her involved in a number of campaigns, including most recently, the 20x20 movement. “The last 2 years in particular I’ve become really passionate about the visibility of women in sport. [Seeing female athletes] makes it normal. As ambassadors for our sports, it’s our responsibility to take these opportunities. Plus the work brings a balance to my life.”
Jenny sees sport as a universal positive. Making sure female involvement in sport is something fun and educational, not just competitive is key, she says, to maintaining participation across all age groups and ability levels, “You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to be involved. There’s a space for everyone in sport. Seeing images of people having fun, trying it out, appeals to the wider population.”
And it’s not just about women supporting women. This is a societal shift that requires boundary-less advocacy. “Gender doesn’t matter. Boys and girls can look up to me and when they’re 4 or 5, they don’t know any different than just seeing a good athlete or a person enjoying sport.” Taking away the emphasis on having to compete to play is something she also underlines. “It’s important to make sure that kids aren’t afraid of failure. Failure is the first attempt at learning - if you don’t fail, you won’t succeed.”
As Jenny furthers her role as an advocate for participation and gender equality in sport, she continues to pursue her own goals and achievements. With long days of training, she is providing a strong role model for budding athletes at home and across the globe. Her persistence, resilience and commitment to both her sporting career and her new position as pundit for women’s visibility in sport, is huge motivation to us here at G+C.
We can’t wait to see more and more of Jenny Egan doing awesome things for herself, her country and her community!