Welcome to the Round Table*. The Round Table is a new feature here on Sports are from Venus that will feature thoughts and opinions from a few of our writers on different topics such as game controversies and the impact players have on our kids.
For today’s round table, we’re talking about the one athlete who inspires us and why. Check out the picks below and then let us know which athlete inspires you and why in the comments or on twitter (@sportsfromvenus)
*Name is under construction
Aly Raisman is far more than an Olympic sweetheart. She played a pivotal role in bringing serial sex predator Larry Nassar to justice in 2018 with her testimony and unwavering strength. She is a survivor and an inspiration.
Before Raisman vaulted her way to true American hero status, she was a strong and steady force on the U.S. gymnastics team for the better part of the 2010s. She guided two Olympic squads to gold medals as their team captain and earned a gold medal of her own in 2012 by finishing first in the floor routine. Girlfriend can tumble.
You’d never know from her performance that throughout her years of dominance, Raisman was being routinely abused by team doctor Larry Nassar. She was far from alone in her suffering; Nassar was eventually charged with abusing more than 250 girls and women during his time working at Michigan State University and with USA Gymnastics.
Raisman was not the only member of her respective Olympic teams to suffer abuse at the hands of Nassar (Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and Jordyn Wieber have also spoken out about their abuse), but she was the most recognized figure to take a stand and face Nassar in person at his trial. She was a picture of fierce femininity as she delivered a powerful and blistering statement to her own personal monster while he sat before her in handcuffs. In her testimony, Raisman also criticized the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for providing a child sex predator with such a convenient platform to carry out his crimes, and for failing to protect the gymnasts in their care.
She is a survivor who shed a light on the dark stigma of sex abuse and showed firsthand the importance of speaking out against those who would harm others. I’m glad to be raising daughters in a world with Aly Raisman.
Growing up, I was always inspired by Roberto Clemente and his story. I once dedicated a project I made in fourth grade to Clemente. Clemente was born in Puerto Rico and was the first Latin American/Caribbean player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. While he wasn’t the first Puerto Rican in the big leagues, Clemente’s influence on Puerto Rican baseball players is similar to that of Jackie Robinson for black baseball players.
What drew me to Clemente at a young age was his humanitarian work, as he was known for delivering financial aid to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other countries in Latin America.
In 1972, after a massive earthquake in Nicaragua killed 10,000 people and left another 250,000 people homeless, Clemente raised funds and organized supplies to send to the country. After learning that corrupt officials of the Nicaragua government were not delivering the aid he was sending, Clemente wanted to go himself to Nicaragua to ensure that his help was given to those who needed it.
Tragically, Clemente’s plane crashed on its way to Nicaragua, and Clemente passed away at the age of 38. At the time of his death, Clemente had exactly 3,000 career hits. The Baseball Hall of Fame held a special election for Clemente right after his death, and Clemente was voted into the hall without having to wait the usual five years.
The MLB presents the Roberto Clemente Award every year to honor an athlete’s humanitarian and charity work. Clemente has inspired me and other baseball players to use our platform to help those in need. Every professional athlete should aspire to help the less fortunate and give back to communities in need.
Clemente wasn’t just a good baseball player, he was an unbelievable human who went beyond what was expected from him. Clemente truly cared about the world around him and lived his life serving others.
Image Source: AP Images