Children’s Book Author; New mom; COVID survivors – meet our 2021 Pro Ambassadors!
Plus, our Summer AND Winter Olympic hopefuls (it's the only time we get to announce this!)
Thanks to COVID (bet you never thought you’d see that as an opening line!), this year we have a rare opportunity to shout out both our summer and winter Pro Ambassadors who have Olympic aspirations. Here’s the (big) deal: with the Summer Games happening in July-August 2021, and the Winter Games taking place in February 2022, our Little Bellas Pro Ambassadors still signed up to get more girls on bikes in this career-deciding year.
Best of luck landing a spot to go to the Summer Olympics:
Kate Courtney, Hannah Finchamp, Lea Davison, Payton Ridenour, Catharine Pendrel, Haley Batten, Erin Huck, and Chloe Woodruff
And to the Winter Olympics:
Julia Kern, Katharine Ogden
But racing isn’t everything.
A Pro Ambassador isn’t only an agent of sport, she’s a diver in a deep talent pool who surfaces to tell us that there’s way more to becoming a pro than results. Our Pro Ambassadors have failed, been frustrated, and made mistakes too. Most everyone can relate but what makes our Pro Ambassadors so vital is how they adapt their own experiences to teach, motivate, and encourage Little Bellas to be more confident.
Introducing our 2021 Pro Ambassadors
A to Z: BMX Style
We’ve got some new faces this year, like 19-year-old BMX champ Payton Ridenour from Pottstown, Pennsylvania. To compete in BMX, Payton must possess explosive power, have the speed of a cheetah, the technical prowess of a jack rabbit, and be able to react in a flash…all in 40 seconds or less, which is how long a BMX race typically lasts. She’s a quick study off the bike too, managing to score straight A’s in school and continuing with her studies in exercise science as a college freshman. For Payton though, it wasn’t enough to tell kiddos about BMX, she wanted to show them as well so what did she do? She wrote a children’s book! A to Z: BMX Style is available now.
Future Little Bella
We like to plan ahead at Little Bellas but this time we may be getting a little too far ahead of ourselves. Dara was born on January 26, 2021 to veteran Pro Ambassador, Catharine Pendrel. While it will be a while until we can welcome Dara to a program, we are thrilled that her mom, an Olympic medalist (bronze, Rio 2016) and 2x world mountain bike champion, has renewed her commitment to racing and getting more girls on bikes in 2021.
Curse you COVID!
Despite their peak health, our Pro Ambassadors were not immune to COVID-19, which crushed Hannah Finchamp’s podium plans for the 2020 World Mountain Bike Championships. After three negative tests prior to flying to race in Europe, she turned in a negative test upon landing, but then tested positive days before the Championships. Hannah expressed her disappointment in a manner that reflected just how pro she really is.
“I'm happy to say that I don't have any lingering issues from that COVID experience, and I feel very grateful to be able to move forward with joy and gratitude,” Hannah said. “I will be returning to Europe for the World Cups this May.”
Arley Kemmerer celebrated a different kind of “win” this past year. Even though most racing was cancelled, Kemmerer managed to beat some not-so-friendly competition for her pristine health. She conquered COVID and even managed to see its silver lining as well.
“Slowing life down has been really good for me,” Arley said. “I’ve actually really enjoyed the time at home after traveling for so many years. I’ve been able to spend a ton of time with my aging dog and work on a lot of fun and challenging house projects with my partner.”
Pros and brawn
Sure you need to have physical strength to race at the highest level of sport but equally important is mental strength, like the ability to believe in yourself. Our Pro Ambassadors have demonstrated what’s possible with a positive attitude and some confidence, which is just what they will share with the Little Bellas this year.