Last month the Salt Lake Tribune published an article listing the top 25 most influential people in Utah Sports. The list caught the attention of 16-year-old Park City resident Mia Vinding.
When Mia Vinding saw the Tribunes article only included three women and just one winter athlete she was disappointed. Vinding recounts the morning her mother showed her the article.
“I looked at it and I started scanning the list and there was nothing on it that I could really identify with. It was so frustrating to me because if you don’t report on women sports and if you don’t cover women sports it’s just going to continue the downward spiral of less viewing and less fans for women sports.” Vinding explained, “It’s just a continuation of it if you choose not to report on it. I talked with my mom about it we had a long drive so the whole drive we were talking about how frustrated this list made us and how frustrated the general coverage that women’s sports in The Tribune made us. It seemed unjust. I understand influence is kind of a subjective word. You can have a lot of influence and not a lot of success, and a lot of success but not a lot of influence. However, I think that what this list reflected was influence on The Tribune sports writers who mostly write about the Jazz and local football teams.”
Vinding decided to write a response. Her op-ed was published at the end of Augustin the Tribune. She asked why the list excluded world champion jumper Sarah Hendrickson, two-time Olympic gold-medalist Ted Ligety, as well as players on Utah’s first female professional soccer team Utah Royals FC.
“They have three members from the world cup winning National Team. They are the current world champions on the Royal’s team, and there’s no mention of them.” Vinding continued, “At their first game they filled the stadium there was standing room only in the stadium for the first Royals game. Having a local professional women’s soccer team here has had so much impact. There are so many girls’ soccer teams here in Utah its just a huge sport here. To not put any of that in the rankings it just seemed not right to me.”
Vinding is herself an athlete, she runs track and plays soccer at Rowland Hall, but the Park City resident says her main sport is Nordic Skiing.
“I’m a winter athlete, I’m a Nordic Ski racer. I live in Park City, and Park City is a Mecca of winter athletics. We have ‘the greatest snow on earth’.” Vinding said, “There’s so many winter athletes that come to Park City to train and get better, and there’s so many winter athletes that do so well in their respective sports. They win gold medals they win world championships. I don’t think The Tribune reports on the winter athletics very much. The only winter athlete they had in their rankings was Nathan Chen who’s a figure skater in Salt Lake.”
Although she’s just 16, Vinding hopes to continue to change narratives around women and winter athletics.
“I think it had a really big impact because of my age.” Vinding explained, “Because people were interested in reading something that somebody from a younger generation wrote. I took the time to write this, I’ve got a lot going on in my life, but I think it’s a really important issue and especially one that my generation can continue to carry out.”