Campbell says one of the biggest hurdles preventing bigger women from feeling like they belong in sport is the difficulty in finding sportswear to fit them. “If a girl can’t go into a shop and buy an outfit to start their fitness journey, how do you expect them to make that journey to be healthy?” she says.
“The first horrible bit about getting fit and going to the gym is walking in on that first day and getting over that fear.
“If you have to walk in wearing a men’s extra-large T-shirt that makes you look bigger than you are, and some horrible leggings that don’t fit, you’re not going to come back.
“We need to start making the fitness community for everybody. Nobody should be excluded.”
Campbell’s dream would be to link up with a sportswear brand to help them design and promote a range specifically for bigger women. For this, she is thankful that the platform she earned in Tokyo is bigger than many of Team GB’s medallists.
Few events had as many cameras in attendance than the women’s weightlifting 87kg+ final, primarily due to the participation of New Zealand’s transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard.
When Hubbard failed to produce a clean lift, attention in the British media swiftly turned to Campbell, who smashed her personal best to make the podium. “The press came for a certain story, didn’t get it and I had to utilise them,” she said.
“Having all those eyes on us definitely did have its positives, because we’ve gained more fans of weightlifting in Britain.”
Her exploits have already been life-changing. Not only do people recognise her daily, but she is now financially stable enough to rent her own house.
When Olympic qualification became a reality in 2018 – just three years after she had taken up the sport to aid her shot put ambitions – British Weightlifting told her she would need to raise £10,000 to pay her own way to competitions.
At that stage, she was working in the pastoral care team at a special educational needs school, but she moved to become a part-time receptionist to devote more time to weightlifting.
When Covid struck and she was laid off, she struggled for what little income she could muster from talks and workshops – but “essentially lived off the bank of mum and dad”.
That should change now, with her silver medal almost certain to yield some form of UK Sport funding heading into the Paris Olympics. It would be a welcome addition, but not so much as any shift in attitude towards bigger women in sport.
“Someone will put up a video of you competing and people will comment, ‘did fatty win?’ or ‘look at the state of her,’” she says.
“If you don’t bring value to my life then your opinion isn’t valid to me. I’m lucky that I know who I am, I believe in who I am and I’m confident in that. But I’m trying to be a voice for people who do get affected.”
That is the thing about Campbell’s Olympic medal – it means so much more than a piece of silver.
Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/weightlifting/2021/09/22/emily-campbell-interview-not-typical-female-dont-look-like-everybody/578