As the Nike team looks to design new products, they work really hard on athlete insights: how they are working out, what’s driving them and what they are doing. Thanks to the Nike team, we met three amazing Nike women athletes from different countries in Seoul, South Korea to learn more about their long journeys. Sports is an integral part of their lives, but their love for Nike is what unites them.
Leticia Bufoni (Professional Skateboarder):
Leticia is a Brazilian female skater living in California. She started skating when she was nine years old and now competes with other international skaters from around the globe. Skate Boarding is the second most popular sport in Brazil, yet Leticia was one of the first female pioneers to start joining that sport. She became an inspiration to so many young Brazilian and non-Brazilian female fans of the sport who never thought a girl could actually do it and be good at it.
Are you being trained by a coach?
No, I usually go out and practice by myself or with friends. I also search online for new tricks, head outside, and try them out until I get the hang of it.
But don’t you need someone to help you out with these tricks?
Of course I do, but that someone is usually another skater not a trainer or a teacher. Skaters tend to help each other out a lot and give each other tips; we’re like one big happy family : )
Do you usually skate anywhere or are there designated skate parks?
When I’m training, I go to skate parks but when I’m having fun with friends or shooting photos, I skate anywhere with stairs or rails. There are many public skate parks, but lots of professional skaters have their own private skate parks and so I’m working on getting my own soon!
Is skate boarding a dangerous sport?
I wouldn’t call it “Dangerous” yet it’s absolutely typical to get injured a couple of times a day! You get used to it, so it’s not a big deal anymore.
Where do you compete and do you only participate in female contests?
Although skate boarding is big in Brazil, there aren’t many female competitions yet. There are lot of international contests held mostly in Europe and the US. I normally compete with girls but I also competed with boys a few times. It’s more challenging because they are much more into the sport and have better skills and tricks, so you give it your all when you’re up against a boy. And I like that!
So do you have to keep fit and work out regularly to stay flexible?
I don’t have to, but I do because I love working out and I think it helps with my balance, strength and flexibility. Most skaters do not work out so I don’t think it’s a must.
Is skate boarding the type of sport where you have to start really young?
No not at all, you can always start skating at any age. Like any other sport, it’s always better to start young so you can gain more experience and skills specially while competing with people your age.
What would you do if you weren’t skating?
I think I’d be playing soccer since I used to play soccer even before I started skating and was always a huge fan. Either way, I think I’d be playing any other kind of sport; I can never see myself studying or working full time, it’s just not me.
And why did you choose Nike Sportswear?
Skaters usually skate in jeans and regular casual wear, but since Nike doesn’t design denim, I started skating in sportswear. The cool thing about Nike sportswear is that it’s not only comfortable, but looks so freaking cool too! I don’t just wear Nike while I train or compete; I also wear it wherever I go.
Hana Kim (Track & Field Athlete):
Hana is a Korean runner and a long jumper, 200m record holder and the 100m gold medallist at the 2011 Korean National Finals. She started her career 17 years ago when she was just twelve, and is still running strong. Hana met her husband, who’s also a Korean National Team short distance runner, on the track during training and they’ve been called the “Fasted Couple in Korea” ever since.
Being married to another athlete, do you have difficulties spending time with each other?
Most days we both need to train or be away from each other to compete in another country, but we both absolutely understand since we are living the same lifestyle. We make our own time away from work and trainings, and we even train together sometimes which is so much fun!
Do you get competitive with each other?
I sometimes try to reach him while jogging together but every time I realize it will never work so I just give up. But I do win all our arguments so, yeah; at least I’m winning at something! Haha!
How important is rest and recovery?
As you may already know, rest is even more important than the workout itself! Sometimes professional athletes need to train 6 days a week which gives them only one day to rest. So if you’re not doing it as a full time job, try to rest at least 3 days a week so you could recover and avoid any injuries or muscle problems.
Taking off from that question, what do you do to rest?
I think recovery should mean resting your body and focusing on the next training. So when I’m done resting, I watch TV and lay on the couch all day, then I start doing some stretches before I go to sleep so I can be prepared for next day’s workout.
Korean women are known to take really good care of their skin… How do you manage to do that when you’re exposed to the sun all the time?
SUN SCREEN EVERYWHERE, literally, on every inch of your body!! Also, doing lot of masks and facials after training is crucial.
If you weren’t an athlete, what else would you have done with your life?
It’s impossible to imagine my life without sports. I would’ve been any type of athlete but my life just had to include sports.
We love how passionate you are. What other sport would you like play?
I think I’d like to play volleyball. It’s completely different from what I do but I was always a fan of the sport. I also want to start coaching soon.
Mercy Cherono (Track & Field Athlete):
Mercy Cherono Koech is a Kenyan long-distance runner and the 5000m silver medallist at the 2013 Athletics World Championships. Mercy started running in 2007 when she was 16 years old and never stopped ever since.
How popular are sports in Kenya?
Very popular, specially running! Kenya is known to be the country of champions!
Do you have a trainer in Kenya?
Yes, I have a really supportive coach who pushes me forward and helps me train and be better and better every day.
And in your opinion, what makes a good runner or a good athlete?
I would advise anyone to always be consistent, to keep moving, and be positive. Have faith that you could become an inspiration one day and you’ll eventually reach your goals.
Are your parents supportive?
When I first started my mother was a bit worried, but then when my parents saw how good I was and how much I loved running they’ve been supportive ever since.
That’s great! What do you do on a normal day? Like on a Monday for instance?
I train, train and train, even when I don’t have to. Running is addictive and when you love something that much, you’d want it to be part of your day, every day! I like to start and end my week with sports!