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Olympic athletes tap power of social media when games end

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson shows her shot at a women in sports conference
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson showing her shot at the ANA Inspiring Women in Sports conference. Photo: ANA Inspiration / Kelly Kline

For many Olympic athletes, especially female athletes, a key challenge is the fact that their sport only gets seen once every four years. Social media, though, has helped many to increase their visibility of their sports as well as their individual impact.

Why it matters: Sport can be a platform to encourage girls to pursue their dreams and a keystone for equality well beyond the field of play, but that requires having a steady and lasting voice.

"Especially coming from a small sport social media has played a really large role not just with fan engagement but helping to share my story and reach larger audiences," fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad told Axios.

Muhammad, the first American to compete in a hijab, is currently finishing the adult and young adult version of her memoir, has her own clothing line and uses her social media presence to speak up on diversity and other issues.

As for the negative attention she gets, Muhammad said she has gotten really good at quickly deleting and blocking abusive comments. "As we are talking I am blocking somebody right now," she said. "I do whatever I can to block and delete people who have negative energy."

Twin ice hockey stars Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson are trying to use their recent gold medal win as an opportunity to see a single women's professional league for North America, ideally with the backing of the NHL. (Currently there are two small professional women's hockey leagues, one in Canada and one in the U.S.)

"Right now women hockey has a platform and a voice," Jocelyne told Axios. "It’s a pivotal moment in the sport."

The twins have experience using social media to achieve their goal, having previously fought for better pay and benefits for the US women's team. "Social media was definitely our friend during that fight," Jocelyne said, pointing to the role of their #beboldforchange hashtag.

Muhammad and the Lamoureux twins were among the speakers Tuesday at the ANA Inspiring Women in Sports conference.

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