Life in Balance

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Barrie firefighter blazes new trail to inspire girls in sports

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From: Barrie Advance

By Laurie Watt

The strongest female firefighter in the world, Amber Bowman, is blazing a new trail to inspire and help girls go for their dreams.

Bowman has captured 15 world titles, including the 2014 Fire Combat World Championship. She brought home a series of medals from the Fire Fighter Combat Challenge in Phoenix last year, where she set new personal and world records for the races and relays she did while in full protective gear.

But between shifts with the Central York Fire Services, which serves Newmarket and Aurora, the Barrie resident carved out time to train on more specialized, challenging courses in Brampton and Hamilton.

But nothing has been more challenging that battling the stereotypes and limits others impose on her.

It prompted her to create a business, Fit by Fire.

“What I want to do is help other local female athletes achieve the goals and dream they set out,” she said, adding she enjoys talking to children about chasing their dreams.

Just about to turn 30, she particularly focuses on girls.

She said she was raised in a chauvinistic family, bit added that made her more determined to achieve.

Unlike the men she competed against at national and international events, she had to fight for every sponsorship dollar, she recalled.

Breaking that barrier is the challenge she has now set for herself, as she seeks to raise funds to create a fund for female athletes.

“I was really restricted to getting to these big world events. That’s my ultimate goal and dream — to give back to other females in their sport.”

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman acknowledged Bowman’s string of victories at council Monday.

“Amber is a young woman who has won Canadian and world championship medals. It’s a series of tests of strength, endurance and technique, and you’re doing it in full gear. Her athleticism and determination have been inspiring,” he said.

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