Hollywood Heroes: Heather Petri
Olympic gold medalist Heather Petri is fighting for the health of our nation.
Donating your money or your time to a worthy cause can be one of the most gratifying experiences of your life. And for Olympic gold medalist Heather Petri, that cause is the health and well being of our nation’s youth. Petri, who has brought home four Olympic medals in water polo, has chosen to lend her name and her time to PHIT America, an organization that aims to increase physical activity and fitness. We sat down with Petri to find out more about her philanthropic efforts and her passion for health and wellness.
Loop21.com: How did you get involved with PHIT America?
Heather Petri: I spoke to Congressional members at National Health Through Fitness Day on Capitol Hill in March about the rise in nationwide sedentary lifestyles and the resulting health issues. After the conference, I was approached to become a PHIT America ambassador.
Loop21: Why is PHIT America so important to you?
HP: The organization strives to help Americans get fit and healthy through regular exercise and participation in sports--two things I feel strongly about, especially since I’ve dedicated my life to water polo.
I’ve been physically active for as long as I can remember. I was a competitive swimmer as a child but got hooked on water polo because of the team aspect. Being part of a team gets you active, builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and teaches important lessons, like dedication and goal setting. Signing up to be an ambassador for PHIT America was easy because the goals aligned so well with my own beliefs.
Loop21: What other benefits of physical activity are you and PHIT America trying to promote?
HP: Sports gives you so much more than just a place to compete; it gives you a place to grow as a person. Being part of a team is a great way for young people to learn dedication, patience and resilience. My favorite part of competing was having a goal and working with teammates to achieve it. Winning an Olympic gold medal during the London Olympics was the purest joy of sports I have ever felt, and I accomplished that goal with my teammates and friends. Though very few athletes will reach that pinnacle, I feel everyone can achieve that feeling through sports.
Loop21: What do you hope to achieve by your involvement with PHIT America?
HP: I hope to see the number of PE programs in schools increase and spread the joy of exercise and competition. I’ve gotten so much out of sports that I really want to give back. Health is the number one reason to encourage children to be active.
What's your favorite way to give back to your community?
Dana Robinson is the Lead Health/Fitness Producer.