Kris Larson has been turning heads and setting sports records since childhood. Not only is she a world-class athlete, but she also serves her community as Fire Captain in a major metropolitan city.
Tell me a little about your accomplishments as an athlete.
I've always loved playing sports-every single sport under the sun. When I was young I played hardball with the boys. Then, I moved on to softball. I played everything to stay active. It was in high school that I started setting some records. I played discus, javelin, and shotput, earning myself a scholarship to UCLA. I set records for all 3 sports and they are yet to be broken 25 years later. I was inducted into the Olympia High School sports hall of fame in 2013, and am regarded as the school's best all-around female athlete of all time.
Wow! That is very impressive. How did things go at UCLA?
I continued my track and field sports, while getting my bachelor's degree in sociology. I do still hold a record for top ten discus thrower at UCLA. I played among so many very talented athletes there.
How was it being a woman in the fire department?
Things have changed so much over the years. It really has become an environment of respect. As long as you are competent, no one cares if you are a woman. You learn from your mistakes and build on that. I have been a firefighter for 25 years and during that time had lots of opportunity to advance and grow my career. Now, I am a fire engine captain.
What was one of the most challenging moments of your career?
The L.A. Riots. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I did not completely understand the challenges people faced in this part of the country and the resulting civil unrest. We came to help people, but there was a lot of animosity towards us. It was surprising. As a team, in the moment, we would huddle up and do whatever we could to help. On the other hand, I have been able to deliver a number of babies and on occasion been escorted into Hollywood movie studios. Those are some highlights of the job.
Tell me your Tomboy story.
One of my favorites story from childhood was a time I was playing on the jr. high school football team, with the boys. With pads on, no one could tell I was a girl. I was a linebacker. One game I hit this guy really hard. He wasn't too happy about it. After the game (my pads were still on), he came following behind me. "You’re too big to play with us, #74!", he said. I just laughed and kept walking. I don't think he ever figured out I was a girl. Today, it's all about being a firefighter. That means being a firefighter 24/7. You are always on. Long hours. Long days. It takes a special family to support this. Your spouse needs to be understanding and have the ability to be independent.
Who's your favorite Tomboy?
I love tomboys from back in the day. My favorite is probably Billie Jean King. I admire her compassion for making things right.
What's next for you?
Continuing to advance my career and give to my community. I am currently studying to pass the Fire Truck Captain exam in December. I am also getting my master's degree in Public Safety Leadership. In regards to service, I am looking forward to Camp Blaze this summer in Washington State. A group of fire fighters volunteer to provide skills and training to young girls who are interested in what a career in the fire service might be like. They learn skills such as rappelling, search and rescue, and arial ladder climbing. It is a great way for the girls to challenge themselves and learn leadership.
A TomboyX ad featuring Kris!