During Native American Month...Lumbee Tribe's Hometown Hero to Millions of Girls
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EXIT OF THE DAY: EXIT 17, to Lumberton, Red Springs, NC
Near Lumberton is the tiny railroad town of Hamlet, North Carolina, population of a little over 6000. Remember how I told you that there is a large Native American population around here? Well that is because Robeson County, North Carolina is home to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina which has a population of 55,000.
One of the biggest Lumbee tribe members is the diminutive Olympic Gymnast, Ashton Locklear. Ashton was an alternate at the 2016 Olympics.
As written in The Richmond County Daily Journal Newspaper in 2016:
“In the 120 years of the modern Olympic Games, the U.S. Olympic Committee has sent 12,355 athletes to compete against those of other nations on tracks, ice rinks and snow-covered mountains, in pools and gymnasiums, on rivers, courts and fields.
Not a single one of them listed Hamlet, North Carolina, as his or her hometown.
I don’t think any of the people in this town realize the magnitude of what Ashton has done,” said Terry Barrett, the Hamlet gym instructor who taught her to do headstands at age 2½."
Ashton was born in upcoming Lumberton, North Carolina. Her mom and Dad worked very hard to help their gifted daughter to soar to such heights in a sport that is not immediately profitable.
“It’s been very difficult, especially financially,” said Ashton’s mother, Carrie Locklear.
Carrie worked as a registered nurse at Sandhills Regional Medical Center. Ashton’s father, Terry, works in construction.
Despite being an alternate at the Olympics, Ashton is considered possibly the best gymnast in the world on the uneven bars. She helped the US Team win the World Championships in Nanning China in 2014. By the time she retired in 2019, she was a two-time national champion on the uneven bars.
Over the course of her youthful career, Ashton persevered though injuries and abuse, suffering the latter as one of the victims of Coach Larry Nasser. Her injuries are also breathtaking including 2 broken backs. Given her obvious appeal as a role model, Ashton was made a Nike Ambassador in 2017.
If you want to find out more about this dedicated dynamo and see where Ashton grew up, take the next Exit. Upcoming Pembroke is the tribal seat of the Lumbee Tribe. Aston Locklear’s birthplace of Lumberton is right next door. There is even a museum dedicated to this local hometown hero!
After all, Ashton Locklear is a hometown hero who is a role model to all girls all over the world.
#AshtonLocklear #NikeAmbassador #USOlympics #OlympicGymnastics #LumbeeTribe #Lumberton
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