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An International Women’s Day Letter from Teniel Campbell

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When I look back at how much I have developed, the pathways I have possibly started creating. I see a strong, courageous, determined West Indian woman from the islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I see a woman who has stamped her name in her country’s history books. A woman who has unlocked the doors of hope for many local, Caribbean natives and ethnicity.

PELOTON

And…

A woman who became the first female from the English-speaking Caribbean to qualify a spot for her country at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. What it took to accomplish my achievements was a relentless drive to succeed. I never believed I was talented until I won the double gold in the Junior Caribbean Championships in the Dominican Republic. That fired me up to constantly want more. After all, I liked being known as a champion, a dominant force and I took great pride in hearing my country’s national anthem play. Year after year, I kept rising, I kept fighting, I kept improving and I kept thriving. Dominating races in the Caribbean and the local circuit became a norm.

But then things changed.

25 degrees to minus 14 degrees, I arrived in Aigle Switzerland. Who would have thought that this lil’ lanky Trini kid from this lil’ Caribbean island where cycling is not a developed sport would be bumping shoulders with the top women cyclist in Europe? I went from being a champion to a sore loser, a stray in the peloton just trying to survive and arrive at the finish line. Mentally frustrated, crying, wanting to go home, feeling lost and uncertain but still I rise. It must have been my perseverance to keep pressing on despite the odds, despite the naysayers, my self-belief, the small but mighty entourage I had surrounding me followed by a change of mindset. Now, here I am several years later, a professional cyclist for Valcar Travel and Service living in Italy. Along the way, I have made a lot of international friends. Some of who I even consider close friends. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” I, Teniel Victoria Campbell, aspire to be Legendary, to have an impact on this sport, to be boundless and grasp all the opportunities that come my way. I have high aspirations of stimulating the growth and development of cycling in Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean and beyond.

Come along and ride with me.

Teniel Campbell
Trinidad & Tobago

Be sure to check out this video from Cannondale featuring Teniel and other women in cycling.