Alexandra Allred made sports (and medical) history through activism and determination. When she learned that women were not allowed in bobsled, she lobbied for equal status with a relentless letter-writing campaign. It had not yet occurred to her that she had no idea how to actually bobsled. As a former fighter in martial arts, she had only cared that women were banned from a sport deemed “too dangerous” and “too fast.”
When told that the women’s program had no by-laws and was therefore unofficial, Allred co-authored the first U.S. women’s bylaws and helped secure a sponsor. She ultimately won the U.S. Nationals in September 1994, making sports history as she was named to the first-ever U.S. women’s bobsled team. When the United States Olympic Committee named her Athlete of the Year for her sport, it made international news that Allred was also pregnant.
At the time, there was very little data on elite pregnant athletes who did powerlifting and plyometrics. While Allred became the “poster child” of the Case Western OB/GYN international study, Allred was squatting 375 lbs. and clocked at 20 MPH sprints into her second trimester. The results of this study changed how to measure the safety of baby in utero for competitive athletes. Both the United States and International Olympic Committee used Allred’s training data as a safety guide for pregnant athletes and she served as a fitness/nutrition expert for two decades.
Today, Allred is an adjunct professor at Tarleton State University and continues to write/research and work with those living with special needs. Her most recent book: When Women Stood - The Untold History of Females Who Changed Sports and the World. Was published in February 2023.
About the book: When Women Stood - The Untold History of Females Who Changed Sports and the World.
An unapologetically candid and illuminating history of women and their fight for equality, told through the influential world of sports.
From early Amazons to modern-day athletes, women have been fighting for their rightful place in the world. The history of these female athletes—whether warriors on the battlefield or competitors in the sports arena—has often been neglected, yet it is through sports that women have changed society, gaining entry into education, travel, politics, and more.
When Women Stood is an eye-opening chronicle of the amazing women who refused to accept the status quo and fought for something better for themselves and for those who would follow. Featuring exclusive insight from athletes such as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Kathrine Switzer, Nancy Lieberman, Briana Scurry, and Nancy Hogshead-Maker, this book includes the stories of female football players, Olympic athletes, powerlifters, and soccer stars, of historians, archeologists, crusaders, and scientists.
Women’s sports history cannot be told without also telling the story of the fight for gender and racial equality, economics, medical biases, gay and transgender history, violence, religion, media, abuse, and activism. When Women Stood is the first to go beyond the record books and gold medal counts to truly dig into the vital role women and sports have played in instigating change in society as a whole. And it shows that, despite seemingly unsurmountable odds, the true spirit of the female athlete can never be restrained.
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Call her Alex
Growing up and loving the non-traditional female sports
Having lived in 20 places by the time she was 18
Being born in Germany and spending her childhood moving from place to place
Living in Russia and being followed by the KGB
Getting into Martial Arts at 18 and being a professional fighter
Seeing bobsled for the first time on TV and not seeing any women competing
Asking the question - why are there no women competing?
1940 US Champion - Katherine Dewey - Bobsleigh pilot won the open bobsled competition
Starting a campaign to change the rules to allow women to compete
Winning the US Nationals in 1994 while being 4 month pregnant
British Boxer - Jane Couch making a difference for women in boxing
Getting push back for being a pregnant athlete
Why she didn’t drop out
Being part of a medical study on pregnancy and athletics
Mentors in sports
Misogyny at the highest levels in sport
Figuring out fundraising and sponsorship for the bobsled team
Keeping motivated after setback after setback.
The power of women
The label of tomboy
Writing the book
Planning a 2nd book
Thoughts on World Athletics banning transgender women from competition.
Lack of research for the cis-gender female body
Why women aren’t studied
Focusing on female hormones
Creating a space for transgender athletes
The importance of education around transgender men and women
Menstrual cycle and how it ties to performance
Media coverage for women and how’s it changed over the past 30 years
How the worlds sees women
Why it’s less about what she looks like and more about what she can do
The power of strong, outspoken women
How to connect with Alex
Advice for women who want to help drive change
Practical steps to support and encourage other women
Support your sisters and stand up for ourselves
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