Mar 8, 2021
You don't want to miss this episode with Dawn Harper-Nelson because we can't think of a better person to showcase on this International Women's Day. Dawn is a fierce competitor and loving mom with an absolutely infectious personality. She's earned 4 global championship medals on the track including a gold, 2 silvers, and a bronze, but her story has impact well beyond the podium.
In this episode with Shanna and Chris, Dawn opens up about her journey from growing up in East St. Louis to now raising a daughter of her own in the same area. She talks about the impact of the role models in her life including her parents who made sure her education took priority over her track career, her high school coach who saw her ultimate potential in the hurdles, and the legendary Jackie Joyner-Kersee, also from East St. Louis, who pulled her aside at a young age and told her that she had the potential to be great.
In spite of the support, Dawn shares that her path to Olympic gold in 2008 was far from easy as she barely made the Olympic team while navigating the initial part of her pro career without a sponsor, wearing borrowed spikes from a teammate. From there, Dawn discusses how she dealt with the added pressure of being Olympic champion while going on to win 3 more medals and 4 Diamond League titles over the next decade in her highly-competitive event. She also tells us why the hurdles are different and why she believes the clean sport culture in the event is so strong.
In 2018, she chose to retire after finding out she was pregnant with her daughter Harper. As she explains, the culture is gradually changing for the better, but traditionally, pregnancy has meant the end of your career for most women. Now in partnership with Cadenshae and &Mother, Dawn is on the comeback trail to return to the Olympics in Tokyo to show her daughter that you can be a mom and still chase big dreams. We are rooting for her but will still be forever-fans no matter what happens. Dawn's story is a powerful inspiration for us all!