34 episodes

This podcast is all about women in sports – where we share stories about overcoming the odds, persevering through adversity and finding success in a male dominated world.

Opening the Playboo‪k‬ Christina Heydanus

    • Sports

This podcast is all about women in sports – where we share stories about overcoming the odds, persevering through adversity and finding success in a male dominated world.

    Climber Sasha DiGiulian on breaking records, bullying and overcoming injury

    Climber Sasha DiGiulian on breaking records, bullying and overcoming injury

    Climber Sasha DiGiulian joins Opening the Playbook to discuss where her love of the sport comes from, how she handled being bullied, and the pressures that come with being one of the most famous faces in the sport.
     
    Sasha has been climbing since she was six years old and received her first sponsorship when she was 12. Since then, she’s become a World Champ, 5x PanAm Games Champ, 3x US National Champ, and has broken more records than you can count. She’s also proudly been a first for many climbs, which she says comes from wanting to push herself and show others what she can do.
     
    Sasha also dives into being bullied by a fellow climber in the sport and how she stood up to it. She says it led her to becoming a strong advocate for women in sports, especially in the climbing world.
     
    But that's not all. In today’s episode, Sasha discusses how losing her dad at a young age helped shape her into the person she is today, and how it also changed how she climbs. And finally, she touches on undergoing hip surgery seven months ago, which is the longest she’s had to step away from the sport.
     
    Episode topics:
    Being one of the most recognizable faces in the climbing world How she learned to get over her FOMO while recovering from her injury Dealing with her father’s death at a young age How she handled being bullied by a fellow climber The difficulties of fitting in in the sport  
    Quote: 
    “Climbing definitely has a bro’s club in the sport…and I think if you don’t fit in and you’re not trying to be like a “cool girl” and roll with the punches when the punches hurt a lot, then you can be demonized and seen as someone who doesn’t belong. And I definitely experienced a side of that.”
     
    Resources:
    Guest Info – Sasha DiGiulian
    Instagram: @sashadigiulian
    Twitter: @ sashadigiulian
    Facebook: Sasha DiGiulian
    Website: http://sashadigiulian.com
     
    Outsidetv – 10AM on a Tuesday
    http://www.outsidetv.com/show/detail/10AM+on+a+Tuesday/play/94RGdNYE/1/100/cfg4grUN/1
     
    Host Info – Christina Heydanus
    Instagram: @tinaheydanus
    Twitter: @tinaheydanus
     
    Show Info – Opening the Playbook
    Website: https://www.openingtheplaybook.com
    Instagram: @openingtheplaybook
    Facebook: Opening the Playbook

    • 49 min
    Jessica Mendoza: the ESPN Analyst and Olympic Gold Medalist on breaking barriers and speaking out against sexual harassment

    Jessica Mendoza: the ESPN Analyst and Olympic Gold Medalist on breaking barriers and speaking out against sexual harassment

    Today, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst and retired softball star Jessica Mendoza joins Opening the Playbook to discuss breaking barriers, diversity, and why she is so vocal about supporting those who speak up against sexual harassment in sports.
     
    Sports are in Jessica’s blood as she spent much of her childhood in the dugout watching her dad coach at the college level. She says she’s always played ball and got serious about it as a teen when she made the decision to dedicate herself to the game. It’s something she advocates for young girls, telling them to find their differences and hone in on their skills.
     
    Jessica’s passion for softball led to an impressive college career with Stanford, where she was a four-time First Team All American. That success continued with the US Women’s National Team, where she won an Olympic Gold and Silver.
     
    She’s now an analyst on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN where she’s hoping to impact people in different ways through story. She’s also passionate about showing support for women who have voiced their stories of sexual harassment, which she hopes will help put a bigger spotlight on the impact of the issue in sport.
     
    Today, Jessica also shares what her journey with ESPN has been like and gives us her pick for who to watch this upcoming MLB season.
     
    Episode topics:
    Being the first woman to call a national World Series broadcast & her career at ESPN Standing up against sexual harassment in sports Being an advocate for diversity & women in sports Her prediction for the upcoming MLB season  
    Quote: 
    “I think if we can have more women voices telling the story, reporting the story, but doing it from a sense of, thank you for speaking out, thank you for coming forward, because I know that this must have been so hard and so painful….and it takes these brave, brave people to come out and say, hey this is what happened, and it wasn’t okay and we need it to stop.”
    -Jessica Mendoza
     
    Resources:
     
    Guest Info – Jessica Mendoza
    Instagram: @jessmendoza2
    Twitter: @jessmendoza
    Facebook: Jessica Mendoza
     
    Host Info – Christina Heydanus
    Instagram: @tinaheydanus
    Twitter: @tinaheydanus
     
    Show Info – Opening the Playbook
    Website: https://www.openingtheplaybook.com
    Instagram: @openingtheplaybook
    Facebook: Opening the Playbook

    • 45 min
    Ellie Black: Canada’s Most Successful Female Artistic Gymnast

    Ellie Black: Canada’s Most Successful Female Artistic Gymnast

    Today, Artistic Gymnast Ellie Black joins Opening the Playbook to discuss the pressures of being the face of Gymnastics Canada, injuries and what she’s learned from them, and the importance of being body positive.
     
    At 25 years old, Ellie has earned the title of Canada’s most successful female artistic gymnast after finishing fifth in the women’s all-around event at the 2016 Rio Olympics (the highest finish ever by a Canadian) and winning silver at the 2017 World Championships. The podium finish made her the first Canadian to ever win a world all-around medal. Today, Ellie explains the feeling of having the weight of the sport on her shoulders and why she thinks this is just the beginning of Canada’s success in the sport.
     
    Ellie is coming off a major injury and shares how she battled back and why the postponement of the 2020 Olympics was a good thing for her. She also talks about coming from a small province (and being the first gymnast to go to the Olympics from Nova Scotia), pushing boundaries, and being confident, especially when it comes to body image.
     
    Episode topics:
    Being the face of Gymnastics Canada and the pressures that come along with it Injures and what’s she’s learned from them Body image and how she’s proud of how far it has come in the sport Why she considers 2020 one of her most difficult years What she has in common with Sidney Crosby  
    Quote: 
    “I think it’s important to keep younger girls and athletes in sport longer. Just for having a healthy lifestyle and creating a healthy body image and knowing that having muscles and being strong, that is beautiful, that is something that is so great.”
    -Ellie Black
     
    Resources:
     
    Guest Info – Ellie Black
    Instagram: @ElllieBlack_
    Twitter: @EllieBlack_
    Website: https://www.ellie-black.com
     
    Host Info – Christina Heydanus
    Instagram: @tinaheydanus
    Twitter: @tinaheydanus
     
    Show Info – Opening the Playbook
    Website: https://www.openingtheplaybook.com
    Instagram: @openingtheplaybook
    Facebook: Opening the Playbook

    • 41 min
    Tennis’ most talked about up-and-coming player Leylah Annie Fernandez

    Tennis’ most talked about up-and-coming player Leylah Annie Fernandez

    Today, tennis player Leylah Annie Fernandez joins Opening the Playbook to discuss the interesting way she got into the sport, her rapid accent up the rankings and what it was like to meet her idol, Roger Federer.
     
    Leylah is just 18 years old, but has already made dent in the tennis world, being crowned the French Open Girls Singles champ in 2019 and winning Tennis Canada’s 2020 Female Player of the Year after a breakout year which saw her go from NO. 209th to 88th. Today, she talks about how tough it is to move up the rankings, what it likes to be a teen in the sport and the special bond between her and her dad (who’s also her coach).
     
    Leylah also discusses meeting her idol, Roger Federer, the inspiration she gets from Andre Agassi and her love for 80s music.
     
    Episode topics:
    The pressures that come with her rise in the tennis world Managing being a teen and a pro athlete The struggles she faced when being separated from her family due to training What she hopes to accomplish in the sport How she works on her mental game (hint, it involves Andre Agassi)  
    Quote:  
    “I want to win as many grand-slams as I can and be number one in the world for years to come…I’m happy with the results I have but I want to achieve great things, I want to become a legend in the tennis world and hopefully inspire kids to play tennis and continue with their dreams.”
    -Leylah Fernandez
     
    Resources:
     
    Guest Info – Leylah Fernandez
    Instagram: @leylahannietennis
    Twitter: @leylahfernandez
    Facebook: Leylah Fernandez
     
    Host Info – Christina Heydanus
    Instagram: @tinaheydanus
    Twitter: @tinaheydanus
     
    Show Info – Opening the Playbook
    Website: https://www.openingtheplaybook.com
    Instagram: @openingtheplaybook
    Facebook: Opening the Playbook

    • 31 min
    Bobsled Pilot Kaillie Humphries opens up about what led to her decision to leave Team Canada and compete for the U.S (and the fears and fallout that came with it)

    Bobsled Pilot Kaillie Humphries opens up about what led to her decision to leave Team Canada and compete for the U.S (and the fears and fallout that came with it)

    Today, bobsled Pilot Kaillie Humphries joins #OTP to discuss her harassment claim against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, competing with and against the men and being so dominant on the track.
     
    Kaillie is a three-time Olympic medallist, two of which are Gold, and has landed on the podium 10 times over her 18-year career at the World Championships. In today’s episode, Kaillie talks about the unique way she got into the sport, and why she almost quit after the 2006 Games. She also discusses the differences between sliding with men and women, and why competing in mixed team made her a better pilot.
     
    While almost all of Kaillie’s accomplishments have come while competing for Team Canada, she now slides for Team USA. The switch comes after she filed a harassment claim against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton after falling into a deep depression following the 2018 Olympics. In today’s episode, Kaillie opens up and explains her decision, talks about the fears that came along with it, and the fallout that happened afterwards. She says the backlash she suffered wasn’t something she was prepared for, which included horrible name calling. But – although she didn’t want her career in Canada to end --  filing the claims was something she says she felt she needed to do in order for change to happen in her future.
     
    It took about seven to eight months for Kaillie to start to feel like herself again, and in this episode, explains her timeless on getting back to her normal and how she did it. Now, her focus is on Team USA and the pressures of starting over and having to prove herself again – and shares why her second chance has allowed her to see things in a new way.
     
    Episode topics:
    Why she almost quit the sport in 2006 Making a harassment claim against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton and the hurt and devastation that followed Starting over with Team USA The pressures of being a role model  
    Quote: 
    “I was scared of what the repercussions were going to be, and unfortunately for me, every single fear came true, as is the reason why most athletes don’t make those claims…it can be career ending”
    -Kaillie Humphries
     
    Resources:
     
    Guest Info – Kaillie Humphries
    Instagram: @kailliehumphries
    Twitter: @bobsledkaillie
    Facebook: Kaillie Humphries
     
    Host Info – Christina Heydanus
    Instagram: @tinaheydanus
    Twitter: @tinaheydanus
     
    Show Info – Opening the Playbook
    Website: https://www.openingtheplaybook.com
    Instagram: @openingtheplaybook
    Facebook: Opening the Playbook

    • 54 min
    USWNT soccer star Crystal Dunn talks World Cup, equal rights and chickens

    USWNT soccer star Crystal Dunn talks World Cup, equal rights and chickens

    Today, USWNT defender and Portland Thorns midfielder Crystal Dunn joins OTP to discuss her World Cup highs and lows, her recent trade to Portland and her fight for equal rights.
     
    Crystal is heading into her 7th professional season, which she’s split between the NWSL and the FA Women’s Super League in Europe. This year will present a new challenge, as she’s joining the Portland Thorns following an off-season trade. It’s a move Crystal is excited about as it reunites her with her husband, who’s an athletic trainer for the Thorns. She’s also made it clear she’s looking to take on more of an attacking role, something Thorn’s owner, Merritt Paulson, acknowledged on Twitter, saying she will get one.
     
    Crystal’s career also includes a World Cup Championship and Olympic experience with the US Women’s National Team, but it hasn’t been all roses. Today, Crystal shares the toughest moment of her career: being the final cut from the 2015 World Cup squad. She explains how she felt in that moment and what she did to help move on (hint – it involved playing her game rather than trying to emulate others).
     
    As involved as Crystal is on the field, she’s just as much off, using her voice and platform in the fight for equal rights and equal pay. She says while she’s always been an advocate for black women and minorities, speaking up is not something she’s always done, but is now more confident to do so. Case in point: at a recent friendly in the Netherland, the team wore Black Lives Matter (BLM) shirts and knelt during the national anthem. She says the USWNT has one of the biggest platforms out there and that it would be foolish not to take advantage of it.
     
    In today’s episode, Crystal also talks about her struggles with her height (she’s 5’2), what she’s ambitious for, the Tokyo Olympics and why she’s decided to become a mom to five chickens. Join us, won’t you?
     
    Episode topics:
    Career struggles – being the final cut on the 2015 World Cup roster Fight for equal rights and equal pay Joining the Portland Thorns in the offseason and looking to take on an attacking role Winning 2019 World Cup Owning chickens  
    Quote: 
    “I think, before we’re athletes, we’re human beings and I think there are so many issues that affect human rights that people are like, oh you know nothing about this and I’m like actually, I do. I know how to treat people with respect and stand up for what I think is right. And I feel like being on a big platform, representing the USWNT, it’s important that we use our platform to really promote change and really demand it in our society.”
    -Crystal Dunn
     
    Resources:
     
    Guest Info – Crystal Dunn
    Instagram: @cdunn19
    Twitter: @cdunn19
     
    Black Women’s Player Collective
    Instagram: @blackwplayercollective
    Twitter: @BWP_Collective
     
    Host Info – Christina Heydanus
    Instagram: @tinaheydanus
    Twitter: @tinaheydanus
     
    Show Info – Opening the Playbook
    Website: https://www.openingtheplaybook.com
    Instagram: @openingtheplaybook
    Facebook: Opening the Playbook

    • 29 min

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