She Founded Wrestle Like a Girl
She founded Wrestle Like a Girl!
We found this amazing woman on Instagram and immediately knew she had to be a part of the #nevertoopretty movement! She is an Olympic wrestler and founder of Wrestle Like a Girl
Katherine Fulp-Allen is Never Too Pretty to do a Double Leg.
Read her amazing story below and a little Q & A we did with her.
|Professional Athlete- Wrestler|
|Outdoors/coaching young women/marketing and promotion of women’s wrestling/ @fulpallenwrstlg|
|International and Olympic Trials|
|My passion is giving back to young girls. With so many years of competing for Team USA, you don’t always get the chance to see the impact you can make as an athlete. I am extremely passionate about young girls finding sport. I am on the board for a non profit called Wrestle Like a Girl, where we are working to bring the sport of wrestling to girls and women who typically cannot afford it due to their socio-economic status. I believe that spreading the word about what female athletes look like, or SHOULD look like according to society is all wrong! I am so excited to change that along with the Too Pretty Brand!|
Questions we had for Katherine
What/who inspired you to start in your sport/activity?
My father was a 3x Olympian and began coaching women in wrestling when I was very young. He surrounded me with strong wrestling role models that were women, and he believed women had every right to compete as the men had. Both my sister and I began wrestling due to our father’s passion for the sport. It was contagious.
Do you have a hero/role model?
My father and my sister are my heroes! They both forged a path for me to compete to the highest level possible. My father fearlessly created women’s tournaments when there was absolutely nothing available. He fought politically to allow women to have a space in the wrestling world, even when most of his male colleagues believed women should not be on a wrestling mat. He had the foresight to see that this sport needed women, and that one day, his actions to include women would help save the sport of wrestling when it was almost taken out of the Olympic Games. His courageous actions have inspired me to continue to fight for opportunities for the young girls.
My sister is the toughest wrestler I know! During her very accomplished career, she was on the National Team for almost a decade and had to rehab from five surgeries! She never felt bad for herself and only pushed forward. She now is on many committees for USA Wrestling and is championing efforts to sanction girls High School wrestling in Virginia. They showed me what it takes to have an Olympic attitude in everything that you do. That the accomplishments mean nothing in comparison to how you use your platform to help others. They are incredibly selfless, and I continue to work to be like them everyday and to make change in memory of my father.
Tell us a story/incident that happened while you were playing or not playing that may have made you feel defeated. Now tell us how you overcame that.
In the spring of 2015, I was on an awesome roll. I had already competed in Russia, Sweden, Russia again, and was now in the finals match in Mongolia. I was picking up steam! In this finals match, I was wrestling hard, keeping the match close. I lunged for a double leg take down that was much too extended, and I just dropped. I had felt my foot dislocate and come back together. I had to finish the match in a lot of pain, but she still couldn’t score. I lost the match, and found out later that week back in the US, that I would lose months on my preparation to make the 2016 Olympic Team. I went into surgery immediately and would have to go two months without walking. It was devastating. I didn’t understand why, why this would happen now. How could I even come back after such a huge surgery? With support from my sports psychologist, I came to the realization that I could keep asking why, or I could do everything possible in my power to come back strong. I didn’t end up winning Olympic Trials, but I came in 3rd place to become an Olympic alternate and part of the National Team. Without that change in mentality, I wouldn’t have given myself a chance to come that close! I am proud of myself.
Have you ever been underestimated simply for being a girl/woman? Tell us how.
I think the moment you thrust yourself into a male dominated sport world, you can immediately sense being underestimated. Even today, countless times I will walk into a wrestling gym and know that the first thought is, “let’s see if she knows what she is doing.” I learned this very young, in Elementary School actually. In so many places in the US, the girls must still wrestle boys. Any tournament I participated in I was wrestling boys up until High School. I was wrestling a match and I had beaten the boy by quite a few points. Before raising my hand, the referee stopped, walked over to the scoreboard, switched our scores and came back out to raise the boy’s hand. We were shocked! Certainly this referee was confused? Could he really have been so convinced that a girl could not win that without checking with the table’s score, he assumed I was not the one with the higher score? My father protested this change and after quite a bit of negotiating, they decided that the scores would be tied and we would wrestle a sudden death period. This means that the first person to score, wins. I remember being exhausted and confused, but I had to quickly go into wrestling mode. We wrestled the period, and I won! It was quite exciting after so much controversy! But this was just the beginning of understanding what I would continually face because I was a girl in a male dominated sport.
What are you doing currently and what are your goals? Currently, I am working on some passion projects. I am on the board of the new 501(c)3, Wrestle Like a Girl. Our goal is to empower women and girls and to increase participation across the US in wrestling. We will focus on socio-economically disadvantaged girls, and give them opportunities to try an amazing sport that can change their lives. I am still undecided if I will continue my athletic career. It is a very difficult decision when wrestling and competing has been your entire world for almost 20 years! For now, my goals are to inspire young girls to challenge themselves, to see that they can be someone amazing, whoever that is! I want to give my passion projects the love and care they needs to grow into huge opportunities for young women. It takes an immense amount of work and drive to be nationally and internationally competitive, and it will take just as much to work towards my future goals!