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Winning Ways

There's not a lot Jenny Rissveds has not already won in the cross-country mountain bike world.

In fact, as an Olympic champion, it might be hard to comprehend how another win could be bettered. Especially as winning a gold is the pinnacle of success for most riders.

But winning isn't everything.

And Jenny Rissveds is not your average mountain bike racer.

Photo: Lear Miller

Even if standing on the top step of a podium is the objective for most mountain bike racers, for Jenny and her teammates in Team 31, there is a new way of winning.

And it's all built on enjoyment, inspiration and children's rights to play.

Rather than perpetuate the pressurized structure of elite racing, focusing on podiums, followers, and engagement, the goal is to have fun and inspire others.

In particular, the team's name brings attention to Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that "every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities."

Photo: Lear Miller

Photo: Lear Miller

These are ideas and principles that guide Team 31. And they have emerged from Jenny Rissveds personal journey, which has been well documented over the years and made public her battle with eating disorders and depression.

It was the cause of her leaving mountain bike racing. Compared to racing bikes, it was an unprecedented challenge, but it is one she has overcome.

It is not surprising that it is also a period that left a profound sense of meaning. Any return to racing should be accompanied by becoming a significant voice for mental health, enjoyment and participation in sport.

One that Team 31 has at the forefront of their minds and activities, as Jenny Rissveds says;

"We want to show the next generation that sport can be playful, fun, and free from pressure, and not only about winning, losing, and fighting mentality. Sport is for everybody, and we want everyone to go on this journey with us!"

Wining is inspiring; that is clear.

But winning isn't always about a number one on your back or gold around your neck. Winning is also riding with a smile, enjoying every moment of your challenge.

And encouraging others to do the same is truly inspiring.

That's the real winning way.

Photo: Ibis Cycles

Photo: Ibis Cycles





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