March 17, 2024

A Swimmers' Story: Nardia Moffatt

Press Release
A Swimmers' Story: Nardia Moffatt

We’d like to introduce you to Nardia Moffatt, a 19-year-old athlete breaking barriers in the world of swimming.  

Nardia, who prefers to go by either Nardia or Storm and uses they/them pronouns, is a force to be reckoned with despite facing numerous challenges due to their neurodiversity and identity.

We caught up with Nardia to discuss their journey as an athlete with Autism, ADHD, Anxiety disorder, Dyspraxia, C-PSTD, and Hypermobility, who identifies as Nonbinary and Pansexual.

Us: Nardia, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us a bit about your background in swimming?

Nardia: Certainly. I've been competing in Special Olympics since I was 8 years old. I started with kick board races and walking races, then gradually moved on to bigger events like the 25 meters Backstroke and Freestyle. By the age of 13, I was tackling 50 meter Backstroke and freestyle as well as 100 meter IM's. Throughout my journey, I've won over 30 Ribbons, including several 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons.

Us: Your achievements are truly impressive. However, you've mentioned facing challenges in the swimming community. Can you elaborate on that?

Nardia: Absolutely. Despite my accomplishments, I've never felt fully accepted in the mainstream swimming community. Things became even more difficult when I came out as part of the Rainbow Community at 17. Suddenly, there was a lack of understanding and acceptance of my gender identity. During Special Olympics, I was told they didn't know how to accommodate my non-binary identity. I was forced to wear female togs and participate in both female and male events, leading to a lack of training and communication from coaches. Eventually, I had to quit due to the overwhelming lack of acceptance.

Us: That sounds incredibly challenging. How did you find a way to continue pursuing your passion for swimming?

Nardia: I discovered the Rainbow Games, which provided a platform for athletes like me to compete without fear of discrimination. Without this opportunity, I wouldn't have been able to participate in sports due to the lack of acceptance in mainstream society. I was drawn to the Rainbow Games because I knew I could compete as my authentic self and be embraced for who I am.

Us: What are you most looking forward to at the Rainbow Games?

Nardia: I'm excited to meet people who share common interests and are more accepting and understanding of differences. It's a chance for individuals like me to showcase our talents without judgment. My message to anyone considering participation is to come with an open mind and have fun.

Nardia Moffatt's journey exemplifies resilience and determination in the face of adversity. As they continue to challenge stereotypes and pave the way for inclusivity in sports, their story serves as an inspiration to us all.

stay up-to-date on all things Rainbow Games. See you in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in 2024!

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