This weekend, South Africa presented the 2nd Arnold Classic Africa – the biggest multi-sport event on the African Continent. This signature event is completely moulded by design and delivered in conjunction with the Arnold Classic International Partnership Events in USA, Brasil, Australia, Asia and Europe. Athletes, spectators and fans were able to enjoy a complete multi-sport program involving more than 50 sporting disciplines, exhibitions and championships, as well as a fitness and lifestyle expo.
I received my invitation to Arnolds at the South African Championships in September last year and it has been a whirlwind 8 months since. It has been amazing to meet new people and make friends from all over the world. This was definitely a highlight for me and my heart is full from all the messages over the weekend.
I came into the show happy with the work I had put in, while still training for the Comrades Marathon. After two days of competing in the Bikini Fitness Divisions, I participated in the Family Fun Run on Sunday, with Arnold Schwarzenegger counting us down to the start. This was another highlight for me and being the first lady to cross the finish line was an unexpected blessing too!
Many of us didn’t place but we can still keep our heads held high as we stood next to top class international athletes and did our country proud. The dedication and discipline that this sport demands is something few people can do and they look up to us for this very reason.
This comes with a responsibility, which is why I think it is important to say again that we often look at photos (and stage pictures are a good example) and incorrectly think that these athletes must all have perfect lives and no worries. There are misconceptions that we live in a fantasy world, when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Behind the tan and fake lashes is an ordinary person and yes, I am passionate about competing and running, but that is only a part of me. Not all of me.
I am flawed and have insecurities and my smile hides things few people will ever understand. Let’s not make comparisons and rob ourselves of joy. Don’t be ashamed of your story or past and rather celebrate with each other when we do well and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Be slow to judge and give each other grace and space and compassion.
“In a world where everyone wears a mask, it’s a privilege to see a soul.”