“The best part about being an athlete is I get to inspire others to be brave, strong and confident.”
Prisais Townsend and family
Activities: Gymnastics and Crossfit
Social media: @Princess_P_Freya_doll, @thejamestownsend
Career: Second Grader
Goals: To be a Gymnastics Olympian, and Crossfit Champion
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 ”
I am drawn to father -daughter relationships, like a moth to a flame. Possibly because I am half of that whole, so witnessing that love and care a father gives his daughter, stirs up a lot of emotions within me. Like several previous MCBMI interviewees, I discovered Prisais via social media. Her tenacity, strength, and confidence initially drew me to her, then I saw a “Father Daughter Workout” video, and it all made sense. You see Prisais is an unusual child, when I say, “unusual” I mean it in the best of ways. She is confident, strong, unafraid to go after any challenge put before her, and she is only seven years old. She carries a level of comfort and assuredness of self, that most adults don’t have, encompassed by the innocence and wonder of a child. It truly is a perfect balance, and I believe that balance steams from her paternal relationship.
We know the value that mothers bring to the home, but very little is said about fathers. Studies show children, both male and female, gain most of their confidence through positive interactions with their fathers. In a society where fathers are absent, pushed to the back, seen as obsolete, and unnecessary children are growing up broken, unsure,self-destructive, with a deep longing of acceptance from anywhere they believe they can get it. When I see the reaction of both Prisais and her sister Freya, when they see their father’s approval, it speaks to my soul and tells me these girls will grow into women who believe they can accomplish anything.
I hope you read this interview and come to admire this family as much as I do, not solely for their athleticism, but also for the close knit bond they have created which will propel these girls into greatness. Thank you Townsend family for sharing a bit of your lives with me.
Questions for Prisais:
Q: How did you get started training with Olympic lifts?
I would always warm up with CrossFit classes.
Q: What do you like about training with weights?
It makes me brave, strong and confident.
Q: How old were you when you started?
I was 10 months old.
Q: You not only lift weights, you also do gymnastics, how long have you been doing gymnastics? What level are you?
I’ve been doing gymnastics for two and a half years. I am level 4.
Q; You train a lot with your dad, what is your favorite part about training with him?
I get to spend time with him. I love being with my daddy.
Q: So I know you do Crossfit, do you want to compete one day?
Yes. I want to be one of the strongest girls ever!
Q: How many days a week do you train?
I train 2-3 times a week because I have gymnastics 3 times a week.
Q: What are your favorite exercises//lifts?
My favorite exercises are, power cleans, handstand push-ups, kips, and pull-ups.
Q: What’s the best part about being an athlete?
The best part about being an athlete is I get to inspire others to be brave, strong and confident.
Q: What level of competition do you want to get to with gymnastics and Crossfit?
I want to make it to the Olympics like Simone Biles and CrossFit Games.
Q: What is the hardest part about training?
The hardest part about training is being tired.
Q: What’s the most important thing training in a sport has taught you?
To always be BRAVE STRONG, and CONFIDENT for my mind and heart.
Questions for Freya:
Q: How do you feel after you get a lift that you couldn’t get at first?
I feel happy and strong.
Q: Do you practice your lifts?
My daddy helps me.
Q: What is training with your dad and big sister like?
I love being with them. I love my daddy and sister.
Questions for Dad and Mom:
Q: What made you introduce your daughters to Crossfit training?
I have always been a Crossfit owner. Their daycare was being in the gym with me, so it came natural to them. P quickly picked up the movements. She is ahead of her time, very smart, determined, and motivated.
Q: When you started training Prisais, did you find yourself holding back to protect her from potential injury?
No, I knew how to approach it because of my education and experience in physical fitness. I knew the proper steps to take that would benefit her long term athletic development. Plus, with her God-given athleticism, I was confident she could do and handle what others her age and older couldn’t.
Q: Your girls are happy, healthy, and their confidence levels are incredible. I believe that is due to the quality time you spend with them, but I also believe it is because they are involved in sports. Talk about what you believe the benefits of getting your children involved with sports are?
I never thought about getting my daughters involved in sports. It just happens to be something we do together but it’s bigger than what they can do or achieve physically. It’s about them being brave, strong and confident mentally and emotionally. Their young girls but black young girls which is two strikes against them. I want them to be brave, strong and confident in whatever they set out to do. Mentality is key but faith is everything.
Q: For years Pediatricians have encouraged exercise involving plyometrics, calisthenics, and cardio,for young children, but have discouraged resistance training. Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics changed their policy statement saying, “children of all ages can benefit from it under the proper supervision.” Knowing what the initial statement was, How did you know incorporating this form of training into your daughters’ regiment would be OK?
I knew it automatically from experience in training. Plus, we have been interviewed by AAP numerous times because they are amazed by what she can do and how she started crawling at three months and walking at seven months. It’s comforting to know that they have repositioned their stance for all kids because kids can greatly benefit from weight lifting with proper technique, programming and strict supervision.
Q: What is your favorite part of training the girls?
Quality time, fun and their smiles. When I invest my time it’s showing them care, love and commitment.
Q: Who initially brought the idea of Crossfit training for Prisais to the other parent, and what was the response?
No one really because she was always with James in the gym. Whether it was our own gym or someone else’s gym. She took to the community as they took to her by her personality and abilities. Parents would see the love and fun she was having and would be inspired by it to do the same with their kids.
Q: I have watched several of the videos you have posted on ig, and I can see how proud you are of the girls, as a father taking part in rearing daughters, what is the most important thing you want the girls to understand about life?
Love Jesus first. Be the person God calls you to be and display his love to others. Always have faith in self and build others up along with you. Self empowerment is huge but don’t keep it for yourself. Empower others. BE determined to inspire and motivate. Three things we live by, BRAVE, STRONG & CONFIDENT! Whether it’s sports, school, ballet, dance etc. always be brave, always be strong, and always be confident.
Q: Why did you agree to let Prisais be a part of MCBMI?
She’s unique and her personality is contagious. The world needs to see that to be inspired or empowered.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee wheresoever thou goesr.” Joshua 1:9