Addison Rosario, 9, was playing with her two American Girl Dolls not long ago when she had an epiphany.
“I was thinking of Aliphine and I thought it’d be super cool to write to the American Girl company so they can make an American Girl doll for her,” Rosario said, during a phone interview on Friday with Women’s Running.
Aliphine is, of course, Aliphine Tuliamuk, who won the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February in Atlanta. Rosario happens to know her well—her father, Ben Rosario, is Tuliamuk’s coach at Northern Arizona Elite.
Currently, Rosario’s American Girl Dolls include one “Truly Me” named Emma and a “Beforever” named Melody, who is part of a collection the brand makes in the likeness of historical figures (Melody is from 1964 and she stands for “fairness and equality for all people”). The kids who play with American Girl Dolls also buy books and clothes and all sorts of accessories that go with them.
But Rosario thinks it’d be nice to add one more who looks like Tuliamuk—and not just because they’re friends. In her letter, she explains how Tuliamuk grew up in Kenya and wanted to be a nurse.
“Aliphine ran to school every day. She wanted to be a nurse because she had seen so many people die in her village,” she wrote. “One day an Olympian gave her a pair of running shoes and she got inspired.”
"Aliphine is kind, sweet, and funny. I hope you think this is a good idea."
RT if you think it's a good idea!! pic.twitter.com/g9FDlgHSUJ
— Ben Rosario (@BenRosario1) July 24, 2020
Tuliamuk came to the U.S. for college, graduating from Wichita State University with a degree in public health. She, of course, went on to become a professional runner, eventually moving to Flagstaff, Arizona, about three years ago.
“She comes to my house, she does the workouts, and she talks to me,” Rosario said. “So yeah, we’re friends.”
Rosario also has accessory suggestions for American Girl.
“They might make running shoes for her and I just think it would be super cool,” Rosario said.
At the Trials in February, Rosario stood on the route in Atlanta with her friend Kylyn Taylor, whose mom, Kellyn Taylor, was also competing (Taylor, also a member of Northern Arizona Elite, placed eighth).
“We were talking about how much we wished all of our runners would win and we said it’d be cool if Aliphine won or Kellyn won or just any of our runners,” she said. “Sure enough, one of them won and that was really cool! She let us hold her medal.”
As for her letter, Rosario noted on the outside of the envelope: “Open me! I have a good idea!” so she hopes the people at American Girl take special notice. She also included a request at the end of the letter, should an Aliphine doll come to fruition: “Could you send one for me and four for my friends Ruby, Mary, Eleanor, and Kylyn?”
You are gonna make me cry, love you girl ♥️♥️ https://t.co/7OMltq0VVj
— Aliphine Tuliamuk (@AliphineT) July 24, 2020
“My dad texted Aliphine and she said she read it she really liked it,” Rosario said. “They’re far away so it may take a while, but I hope they write back and say, ‘yes!’”