Most athletes dream of making the national team in their chosen sport. Those dreams are channelled into countless early mornings and late nights – when normal people are watching the telly, or sound asleep – riddled with sweat and exhaustion.
But for the inimitable Ellyse Perry, the accolade of representing her country in one sport simply wasn’t enough.
The 27-year-old, who grew up in Sydney’s suburb of Wahroonga, went a few leaps beyond, making her debut for both the Australian cricket team and soccer team one month apart.
That was in 2007. She was 16 years old.
And yet, if you placed 100 Aussies in a room and asked them for Ellyse’s name – or any current female athlete’s name – 50 of them wouldn’t be able to answer.
According to new research from the Commonwealth Bank, half the country can't name a current female athlete. It's baffling and frustrating considering the pool of female talent we boast, but there is hope; the bank's research also indicates that two thirds of Aussies say our kids should be getting more exposure to female sporting role models.
Speaking with Mamamia, Perry, now 27, says she's hopeful that equality in sport is on the horizon.
"The world of women’s sport has changed so much since [my first] cricket game back in 2007," the WBBL Sydney Sixers captain says.
"Every year there seems to be more and more interest in women’s cricket and sport in general – last
year in particular the hugely successful Women’s Ashes series spurred national conversation and talk in the media."
Since 2016, when we've seen the likes of the WBBL and AFLW explode, Commonwealth Bank reports the nation's interest in women's sport has been boosted by 47 per cent.
It might come as a surprise that, according to the bank's study, women's cricket is the most watched and listened to sport in Australia.
"For such a big uptake in interest, it really shows that Aussies perception of women in sport is changing."