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Athlete changes the narrative, writes children's book to inspire niece

Posted at 11:03 AM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 10:24:54-04

MILWAUKEE — When a Milwaukee woman fell in love with triathlons, she wanted to inspire her niece. So, she looked for a book to motivate a young African American girl. But she found none. So Nia Obotette wrote on herself and changed the narrative.

"It elevates your mood. Like who could be depressed on a sunny day," she laughs.

That's how Obotette feels about running and getting in shape for triathlons.

"What I like about it, it's not just one sport. You're using different muscles, you stay toned."

Obotette was determined to inspire her niece to get into the sport.

"I know if she could get into this sport she could make the podium. I was really inspired by the possibility of getting her into the sport," Obotette said.

When Obotette tried to look for children's books for her niece, there were none for a child of color.

"When I looked to find a triathlon book I couldn't find one. I googled it and I was like how is that possible?! How is that possible?"

So Obotette wrote her own book to reach kids of all ages.

"The book was a way for me to give people an opportunity to see some of the activity and expose them to it."

The book is called "I Am a Triathlete." She wrote it with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

For couch potatoes at home, Obotette has this advice to get started.

"Do a walk around the block if your down at the lakefront run from pole to pole. If you're not a swimmer put your toe in the water down at the lakefront going up to your waist."

And if you are not a swimmer please note, neither was Obotette.

"I knew how to float on my back. They told me the distance. I was like I can do that! I can float on my back for a half-mile no problem."

Obotette adds, "They have swim angels that will swim behind you and in some cases give you a flotation device but not all."

Obotette has helped coordinate groups like "Black Girls Run" and "Black Girls Do Bike."

She says there are different levels of triathlons where you can work your way up.

"Often, there's this perception that you have to do the Ironman. But I started doing Iron girl which is a sprint triathlon."

Obotette's can-do attitude is infectious. She is changing the narrative and writing new chapters. Her book would no doubt help young people discover their power within.

"I would say my purpose is to continue to encourage those who don't see themselves in books. Now that you see yourself in this book, the potential is there."

"I Am a Triathlete" is the #1 most funded triathlete children's book campaign in Kickstarter history. For more information go to Obotette's website.

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