A warm-hearted CONGRATULATIONS to our Reader Cover Contest winner Michelle Bandur of Omaha, Nebraska. She was nominated by Ruth Rickey, who described Michelle as “courageous, giving, and exuberant.”
She was a clear fan-favorite, and her substantial contributions to the sport won our editors over. She will take part in special experience including a professional photo shoot, SWAG, and some fun with the Triathlete team. Read Ruth’s submission below and find Michelle on the cover of our June 2019 issue.
Once upon a time, a bully sent a note to Michelle, a TV reporter in Omaha, making fun of her nose and sending her $1 to get it fixed. She responded in a most unique way. She published the note, celebrated her #bigfatnose because it came from her dad and put that dollar towards a tri club for young girls. She started Ironhawk Juniors. Quickly, she had coaches and young girls, ages 8-14, working towards their first triathlon. She got sponsors. She helped girls get clothes and bikes. I remember her joy as she taught one of the young girls to ride. Over 200 young women participated in the first year! The plans for 2019 are even greater. These young ladies were every size and yet they learned to celebrate what their bodies could do! Her lesson on how to respond to a bully will empower each of these young girls. Conquering the triathlon will show them their inner strength. Lots of us say bullying is wrong. Lots of us say we should change things. Michelle actually did. – Ruth Rickey