Kellie Ryan grew up playing every sport you could imagine.
She’s always been passionate about playing sport and attending different sporting events to watch the talent that this country has to offer. Her family were all sport lovers, and growing up with two older brothers saw her playing a rough game of basketball, football or cricket in the backyard on a daily basis. And she was the only girl to want to play tackle football against the boys in high-school.
It’s this passion that lead me her think about how to make a difference in the sporting coverage for women in sport in Australia.
Kellie was always interested in athlete interviews and hearing or reading about their story, in their words. To understand the struggles that go along with being an athlete. To not just have a light shining on then when they are on a high, but to see the hard work and dedication that got them there. It was the journey that she was interested in, not just the result, and that is where the idea came from to create the format of VixenSports.
I am extremely honoured to have the depth of talent and passionate collection of athletes that are currently writing blogs for VixenSports. I thank them very much for taking the time out of their busy schedules to support and promote their sport – Kellie Ryan
Why did you decide to start VixenSports?
Being a fan of multiple women’s sports, I often found it hard to source information or stories by or about the athletes. Due to the lack of television coverage, there were very few interviews to be found and I wanted to fill that gap by giving athletes a platform to tell their stories.
At the time, there were few websites promoting women’s sport, and I wanted the website to have a broad spectrum of sports, from motorsports to watersports, to team and individual sports. I wanted to give people the opportunity to hear from the athletes themselves, which is something unique to VixenSports.
Were you aware of other women’s sport websites out there? Who?
How important is it for you to be able to set your own editorial direction?
Although at the end of the day, I have control over the site’s content, VixenSports aims to give voice to its athletes, so they have complete freedom to write about their experiences. They can express not only the ups in sport, but also the challenges and struggles that come with being an athlete.
How important do you think it is for women to create their own media?
I encourage women to turn their ideas into reality and take that next step. We are all in this to promote women’s sport because we are passionate about sharing the talent of our elite athletes. Their achievements should be broadcast to encourage the next generation of female athletes.
We STILL hear “‘No one’ is interested in women’s sport”…
I find that statement very close-minded. I believe women’s sport is interesting to watch. You can see the passion the athletes have for their sport and they are often taking on the pressures of competing at an elite level whilst still having to work full-time just to get by.
Australia has so many talented female athletes, many of whom had to choose between their sport or career due to the lack of funding for women’s sport in this country. There are a lot of pressures that come with women’s sport, and I often think of what talent we were never able to see due to this – The dreams that could’t be fulfilled.
So what do you think is needed to take women’s sport to the next level?
Funding and exposure. To see the W-League and WNBL ABC coverage get cut for the upcoming seasons was heartbreaking.
The WNBL have had a number of teams recently face financial trouble. The funding and overall coverage of women’s sport has taken so many steps backwards and it’s quite sad that in 2015 we have very few female sports shown on free-to-air television.
In order to survive and have development opportunities for the younger generations, women’s sport needs more exposure and promotion in this country and worldwide.
Read More from Women in Sports Media
This interview is a part of a series on women in sports media. Read more:
- Sam Squiers, Sportette
- Candice Freeman, Sportzgirlz
- Alison Smirnoff, Change Her Game