This woman became an Irish citizen to represent us at the Paralympics and we are not worthy!
On International Women's Day, we're highlighting some of the BOSS sportswomen we've had on #GirlsWithGoals recently and Greta Streimikyte is the definition of boss.
As if being a European Gold medallist and Irish Paralympian wasn't enough, 24-year-old Greta Streimikyte is currently getting her masters in DCU as well as training hard for Tokyo 2020. Merely listening to the accolades that this supremely talented runner has amassed throughout her life was enough to make me tired and we were sitting on a couch!
Listen in at 23.58 below for more or keep on reading!
What some people may not know is that Greta became an Irish citizen in order to represent this country, and it was not a decision she took lightly.
Born a triplet in Lithuania, Greta was placed in an incubator at birth, this resulted in her suffering complications with her sight and she was declared completely blind by her doctors. The diagnosis was not something her parents were willing to accept, and it turned out, they were right:
'There was no new technology in Lithuania, new developments in the state were poor and the incubator probably wasn’t as good as what they are now, it damaged my retina and then I had a few surgeries in Lithuania but that was it. I suppose it was the surgery that was successful for me, it was an experimental surgery in Sweden.'
This experiment surgery was the miracle that the Streimikyte family had been hoping for and it taught the family the important lesson of always looking for a second opinion:
'The first phrase that my parents got from the doctor was like, “you know you’re not the first family that has a blind child basically, and to deal with it.” I’m always going to be grateful that they didn’t, they never gave up.'
Regaining some sight in her left eye, Greta along with her family moved to Ireland when she was fifteen and this is when her love of sport began to flourish.
It wasn't long before coaches sat up, saw her potential and suggested that the Paralympics could be in her future.
'There was a community race in Santry, Morton Stadium and I showed up and I came second in the 800 metres and my PE teacher came up to me and was like “Greta, would you like to represent Ireland in the Paralympic games.'
Seems like a no brainer right? Not necessarily, for Greta to compete for Ireland she had to become an Irish citizen which in turn would mean giving up her Lithuanian citizenship
'It was a tough decision I have to admit because for me it meant that I’m going to lose my Lithuanian citizenship, it was a hard decision. Because I truly love Ireland as well, so I decided to go for it. It was the best decision that I’ve ever made.'
At the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games Greta placed third in her heat and advanced to the final where she ran a lifetime best time of 4:45.06 finishing an impressive fourth place. We were delighted to have Greta on our show and we can't wait to follow her journey and see what's next!
20x20 is an ambitious two-year long initiative to better promote and champion women in sport.
With the tagline of "if she can't see it, she can't be it," the 20x20 movement has three targets to reach by 2020:
- 20 percent more media coverage of women in sport
- 20 percent more female participation
- 20 percent more attendance at women’s competitions and events
And at Maximum Media, we're proud that Her and SportsJOE are backing the 20x20 movement as official digital media partners.