Building Networks for the Win

Danny Stock
If you watch film of Ziyah winning a 400m race––if the camera operator knows well enough to keep the leader in the frame––watch her body position: “At the end of each race,” explains her sprinting coach William Miezan, “Ziyah has an upright torso, knees up, and strong back-leg push-off. It’s amazing how she does it––but it seems as if she has more to give at the end of her races when her competitors are tired.”

Her teammates can see this in the race videos they share with each other, too––and they can see when it’s missing. While teenage girls sometimes have a reputation for biting comebacks, these GDS girls are building a network for giving honest, essential feedback. “It’s not just, “Good job,’” Rashida recalls from the times she’s overheard them. “It’s specific. Critical feedback, but coming from a place of warmth.”

She has been a Mighty Hopper for two years now and is making the most of that community support. “I was quiet [when I first came to GDS], but the supportive group of people around me pushed me out of my shell and I am forever grateful.”

She has her team and her GDS community to lean on even as she sets her sights on bold new goals. She hopes to make Team USA’s U20 Track Team next summer and earn the chance to compete in the IAAF U20 World Championships in Qatar at the end of September 2019.

At the end of the day, “she is a joy to coach,” Anthony repeats. “She is accomplishing all her wonderful achievements because she loves what she does, who she does it with, and the thrill that comes from challenging herself to be the best she can be.”
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