Inspiring Women: Lynx Honor Dr. Nicole LaVoi

Mark Remme
Lynx Editor/Writer

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As a former collegiate athlete and coach, Dr. Nicole LaVoi realized the way sport can empower and inspire girls and women of all ages. She’s made a personal and professional career out of helping train coaches and parents to try and create a positive climate where girls can flourish through activities.

And on Sunday, she was recognized for her dedication.

LaVoi, a senior lecturer in the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology, was honored during the second quarter of Sunday’s Lynx win over the Phoenix Mercury as part of the team’s Inspiring Women series. She received an ovation during an on-court presentation alongside Lynx Director of Business Carley Knox.

LaVoi is also the Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the U of M, which is an interdisciplinary research center leading to the pioneering effort examining how sport and physical activity affects the lives of girls and women, their families and their communities. She is also the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium, which helps parents, coaches and administrators understand their role in creating healthy, fan-friendly environments for youth sport opportunities.

She was nominated anonymously and was humbled by the opportunity to be recognized at Target Center.

“I was very honored, very grateful,” she said. “I love my job, and I really try to make a difference in the lives of girls and women in and through sport, and evidently there is something in there that has inspired something.”

During her career, LaVoi said she realized sports can have an empowering presence in girls’ lives when approached the right way. She said she tries to train coaches to create a positive climate where kids are learning, having fun and striving for success all at the same time.

It’s a motivational approach to success. Along the way, the girls get all the positive benefits out of the sport that they’ll take with them long after the game is over.

It just so happens that her efforts overlap with the type of atmosphere the Lynx also provide each night at Target Center, which helped make the honor a little more special. She said the Lynx facilitate a great environment for children and adults of all ages who want to enjoy a night of basketball.

“The more people, boys and girls, men and women, who come out and see these amazing athletes, the more we see that girls and women love sports,” LaVoi said. “They’re really amazing athletes, and when people come they really become fans. I’ve seen it over and over again.”

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