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The State of the Sport with Kara and Sally

The State of the Sport with Kara and Sally

Sally Bergesen / Dec 10, 2019

In 2014, Oiselle signed Olympian and pro runner Kara Goucher as a sponsored athlete for Oiselle - and that relationship continues today.

A lot has happened in those six years:

Not to mention Kara's reflections on her incredible career as one of the world's most successful - and sought after - pro athletes.

Below is a multi-part conversation about the state of the sport of running. At Oiselle, we know we've invested quite a bit, to have a seat at the table - and to help women athletes rise to the highest level. And for Kara, she's stayed true to her journey as an athlete, advocate, and whistle blower. But we both agree there are many miles to run, and there's so much more progress to be made, to make the sport as good as it can be for the next generation coming up -- especially for girls and women.

Please join us for a conversation I found honest, forthright, and thoughtful. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


This is Part 1 of a three-part series.

Conversation topics included in Part 1:

Story of Kara joining Oiselle, Kara’s impact on Oiselle as a business

Kara’s label as “emotional”

Oiselle’s experience as a new sponsor in the pro Track & Field world

USATF as sport governing body, power structures in the Track & Field system

The power of “belonging” and some pitfalls

How contracts can incentivize athletes to do the wrong thing for their body/ long-term success

Timeline of Kara’s pay suspension, contract stipulations, fight to be paid as a new mom

Reductions vs. suspension in pay and #dreammaternity

How rankings-based pay can punish clean athletes for not doping

The power and appeal of the pregnant/mom athlete

Real conversation around the nuance of being a paid pregnant athlete/ job description

The origin story of NOP, singlet design, the energy of a new group, Tour de France


This is Part 2 of a three-part series.

Conversation topics included in Part 2:

Kara’s scrappy racing mindset

The coach as a “father figure”, potential pitfalls in coaching relationships

Strains on Kara’s marriage

How winning a Worlds medal changed the coach/athlete relationship for Kara

2009 Boston Marathon tactics, regrets, pressure, disappointment, and self-support

The USADA investigation begins, Pro-Publica report, salute to Adam Goucher

Joining a new training group in 2011, praise for Shalane Flanagan and Jerry Schumacher

2012 marathon Olympic Trials

Kara’s 2016 “emotional” post-race interview


This is Part 3 of a three-part series.

Conversation topics included in Part 3:

2016 Marathon Olympic Trials – shoe controversy, IAAF equipment rules, grey areas in sport

Respecting competitors while also allowing for analytical thinking regarding rules

Technology innovation and guidelines

Sisterhood with Mary Cain, becoming more fearless, shame as a powerful suppressor

Culture change is possible, envisioning a better future for the sport

Different pathways to activism

Backlash against female voices

Advice for younger athletes: agents, coaches, how to ensure protections

Kara has your back!

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