There were almost no other girls in Kari Traa’s sport, mogul skiing, when she was competing back in the late 90s and early 2000s.
"I trained with the guys and competed with the guys. Actually, since my name «Kari» is a guy’s name in Finland, I sometimes even was mistaken for one."
But while this might have appeared as a disadvantage to some, Traa says it only made her stronger.
"It made me push even harder, and I had fun doing so. I think being a mixed group of sexes benefits everybody. We learned from each other, and we had even more fun together!"
The former skier is fully aware that her situation unfortunately was an exception to the rule in the world of sports – where women too often experience inequality.
"We participated on the exact same terms as the guys and competed for the same cash prizes. This should have been the situation for any female athlete, but unfortunately the differences are vast – and we have a long way to go, she adds."
Kari Traa followed her passion and ended up becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist in 2002. When she retired after winning Silver in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, there was no
one on the Norwegian team to follow in her footsteps and uphold her legacy.
With a strong desire to bring new female talent to the sport, she teamed up with the Norwegian Ski Federation and the Norwegian Olympic Committee to help recruit girls to compete in mogul and freestyle skiing.
"I hope that girls live out their dreams, regardless of what they are. We must break the rules of what is to be expected of us girls, because we can do and be anything!"