Rylee Reeves picked up her first kettlebell when she was only eight years old. She developed a precarious fascination with the Russian exercise tool while watching her parents train with it at the gym. With some encouragement from her parents and fellow gym members, Rylee began training with the Ice Chamber Kettlebell Girls. Within several months of training, in the fall of 2008, Rylee participated in her first kettlebell competition. Her parents were amazed at what she could do, but more importantly, Rylee felt the personal joy and power of her own athletic potential.
However, as with many new endeavors initiated by children, their ever so promising interests are often quick to fade. After a year of kettlebell training, Rylee switched gears and found another sport she loved, and spent the next three years playing competitive soccer.
After six seasons on the field, Rylee realized that she did not enjoy some of the harsh realities of team sports. She did not, for example, like the feeling of letting her teammates down when they lost. Rylee’s parents were stumped, but also open minded about finding something new to support their daughter. They brainstormed about many possible solo sporting opportunities available to Rylee, but nothing clicked.
By chance, during the spring of 2012, while waiting for her parents to finish class at Ice Chamber, a pink kettlebell caught Rylee’s eye. She picked it up and began to do swings and presses. Rylee’s understanding of kettlebell lifting had clearly not perished during her three year hiatus. She quickly caught the attention of Coach Sara Nelson who was surprised by Rylee’s ease of movement. Rylee, too, was amazed at how familiar and comfortable the kettlebell felt. Sara invited Rylee to train with kettlebells again and wisely reminded her that unlike soccer, it would be an individual pursuit. Rylee replied with a resounding yes and got the endorsement from her parents to officially rejoin Ice Chamber’s kettlebell program (designed for adults!).
Fast forward to September 22, 2012. Rylee entered her second Kettlebell Sport Competition at age eleven and set a North American Age Group record (with 162 Jerks + 212 Snatches) for a total of 374 reps in Biathlon using an eight kilogram kettlebell. Rylee exceeded everyone’s expectations, including her own and she once again found an outlet to express her innate athleticism, but this time in a sport which enables her to be the only one ultimately responsible for the result of the contest.
Today, Rylee is training diligently for her next competition on February 9, 2013: The West Coast Kettlebell Sport Classic with another ICKB classmate, Miranda, who is twelve. Following in the footsteps of their teammates, these strong and confident young ladies are proving that kettlebell lifting is a safe, artistic, and powerful sport for girls of all ages. Rylee has definitely demonstrated these qualities to the fullest extent and we are looking forward to her opening the door for more young girls who might benefit from this unique form of fitness, sport, and most importantly, empowerment in their lives.
To support this movement and celebrate Rylee and Miranda’s bravery to step on the platform, we are giving away ten pairs of our favorite form of padded wrist protection, KettleGuards, to the first ten Athleta Chi readers who contact us on our website and express their interest in kettlebell lifting. Our hope is to dismantle the intimidation factor of kettlebells and give ladies of all ages an invitation to try!
MAYACHELA (MAYA) GARCIA is an accomplished Kettlebell Sport athlete, the co-founder of Ice Chamber, a successful athletic training company in the San Francisco Bay Area, and mother to her nearly three year old son, Mateo. She is a Master of Sport in the 20kg Long Cycle and a Candidate for Master of Sport in the Biathlon, a 9x Gold medalist, and is the 1st American to win an Overall Best Lifter award in the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting... more »