For the fifth year in a row, Athleta has invited women of all sports and ages to apply for the brand’s sponsored athlete program — women who bring life to the mantra Power to the She.
In 2012, there were 20 athletes chosen. This year, there are 45, from ages 14 to 94, and from every walk of life. You can read about the individual women on Athleta’s Chi Blog.
We can’t write about every woman chosen, but we can tell two stories — about the youngest, and the oldest — that represent this year’s group. And I can tell you they were a pleasure to interview earlier this month — their words about fearlessness and positivity have been in my head ever since.
Winter Vinecki, age 14
Winter, a triathlete and endurance runner since the age of five, is attempting to capture a World Record for the youngest person to run a marathon on each of the seven continents.
But it’s not just about records. When she was just eight years old and already cause-oriented, she decided to start raising money for childhood obesity. That first time, she did a 10K and raised $1,100.
“Little did I know at that time, my dad had a tumor growing inside of him,” Winter said. “I knew I had to change course and help raise money for prostate cancer awareness.”
Her father passed away when she was nine, and she draws strength from him every day.
“He fought really hard, even though he was in pain, and I try to do that too,” she said. “He’s one of my biggest inspirations every day; he’s always by my side, whether I’m running or sitting there doing homework.”
A size XXS, Winter loves Athleta clothing because of the fit. She trains year-round for all her athletic endeavors outfitted in the brand’s seasonal collections.
Learn more about Winter’s Guinness World Record journey.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, age 94
Tao is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest yoga teacher — she has taught thousands of students over the decades both in the U.S. and abroad. Though it wasn’t always about yoga for Tao, she’s always felt an immense connection to the world around her.
She was born in 1918 in Pondicherry, India.
At the beginning of World War II, Tao went to France to live with her father’s sister, Collette. They became part of the French Resistance movement, secretly sheltering Jewish families who were fleeing the Nazis. When her underground partner was captured, her aunt ordered her to flee to England — she left with the clothes on her back and a small valise of saris.
“My aunt was an inspiration — she wasn’t afraid of anything. I learned that if you had something in your mind, you went and did it, you didn’t procrastinate,” Tao said.
After the war, Tao came to the United States as a model with a French couturier, and then transitioned to acting in films in Hollywood. After settling in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Tao began teaching yoga in 1968. She founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga, which now has a strong presence in the yoga world.
“I don’t think about age; I never have. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t fear anything. I put in my mind that something good is going to happen. Whatever you put in your mind materializes, and I don’t want negativity in my mind.”
Read more about Tao’s extraordinary life.