We catch up with Maryland native and member of the 2002 Women’s Outdoor Track & Field team who brought the first National Championship in any sport to the university — meet Mechelle Lewis Freeman.
Mechelle is also a track & field 2007 Pan American Double Silver Medalist, 2007 World Champion, and 2008 Olympian. Her events included the 100 meters and the 4×100 meter relay. Off the track, Mechelle is the leader of TrackGirlz, the company that is on a mission to empower women through track & field.
Read more about Mechelle below— and you can meet and run with her on August 26th at our FREE fitness meet up on August 26th at Sports Basement Berkeley!
How and why did you start TrackGirlz?
I’ve been called a “Track Girl” since I started in the sport at age 14.
I started TrackGirlz in 2015 when I realized the powerful influence of the talented and successful women and girls in the sport was being overlooked.
I wanted to start a brand that provided sport specific female role models while also creating ways to develop talent and share the authentic “Fast, Fit & Fly” Track Girl culture. We promote confidence, community, and healthy lifestyles through our fitness events, leaderships camps, and athletic leisure apparel to empower communities while helping to create and maintain exposure for track girls on a daily basis. And if you don’t run, jump, or throw, don’t worry, you can always channel your “Inner Track Girl”. We want all women and girls to know the power of track girls around the world and the opportunities in the sport that leads to long-term success.
Yes! We love it. How can people get involved?
You can support our movement by going to trackgirlz.com to shop our apparel, join us at one of our fitness events, sign up a girl to attend one of our leadership camps, or subscribe to our blog. You can also book us to motivate school or corporate audiences with one of our speaking or fitness workshops for youth and adults where we share our motivating experiences within the sport and track and field inspired workouts and activities. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook @Trackgirlz to keep track of all that we do.
We can’t wait for the event on August 26th with TrackGirlz. What are your other current projects that you’re working on?
TrackGirlz currently has some great momentum with the projects we are putting together. We just received a $25,000 grant through a partnership between the Andre Agassi Foundation For Education and the Africa For Hope Foundation for the underwriting of our camp programs.
We are heading to Johannesburg, South Africa in September to offer a TrackGirlz Leadership Camp to the young women there and will offer a few stops in the U.S for girls across the country beginning this fall in New York City, along with Olympic Gold Medalist, Natasha Hastings.
Through this, we want to not only directly connect future stars with female Olympic and Elite athletes, we want to provide a system that helps to motivate and develop young talent. Our camps will follow a new TrackGirlz curriculum that we are finalizing to ensure these girls walk away with a tangible guide to be able to use towards achieving their goals.
That’s exciting! Motivation is key — what’s the most challenging thing you’ve overcome?
One of the hardest things I had to learn was how to overcome doubt, including my own, to train for the Olympic Games after four years off from training and with less than two years to do it. The task appeared to unrealistic and it came with a huge amount of sacrifice, faith, and commitment. I made the team and was one of only four girls in the country representing USA on the 4×100 meter relay at the 2008 Olympic Games.
What do you think the crossover is in between women being physically fit and confident?
When you are physically fit — you naturally feel better — better energy, better functional capability. Your confidence comes from that feeling.
Track and Field is a sport that caters to different body types where you can choose to either run, jump, or throw and fosters physical, mental, and social development.
As a woman or girl in the sport you are known as a “Track Girl.” The essence of a “Track Girl” is strong, beautiful, and bold, with the sport as a source for these attributes.
Last question — how do you think sport has helped shape you as a person?
It has provided a way for me to learn through healthy competition — how to lose and how to win. I’ve learned how discipline, commitment and hard work yields positive results and how cutting corners and bad habits leads to disappointment.
Self-expression among myself and other track girls is an important part of our strong community. From personalities to hairstyles and lip stick choices, the sport allows you to embrace who you are, while learning the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I use track and field work outs, follow a similar diet, and channel that Track Girl confidence until this day.
Come run with TrackGirlz and us on August 26th at Sports Basement Berkeley! RSVP here.