The Olympic Games Rio 2016 have been amazing, to say the least. However, the main thing that has us glued to the TV are the plus size athletes that have captured our hearts and inspired us beyond words.
They are proving that, not only do athletes come in all shapes and sizes but they can win medals! They can soar and do things with their large bodies that societal stereotypes claim plus size people can’t.
We’ve heard it all when spotlighting plus size athletes. We’re glorifying obesity; we’re encouraging people to stay fat; we’re promoting living an unhealthy lifestyle. However, by celebrating these plus size athletes, we are actually promoting being healthy. Yes, you read that right.
These athletes live healthy lives; they work out; they train. Athletes are not meant to be just thin. So with that said, here’s four Olympians who have us feeling empowered and like we can do anything we set our minds to:
This 28-yr old athlete representing the African nation of Angola is the most known Angolan handball player at the Olympics. According to NBCOlympics.com:
“The victory over Montengro puts the African side in an excellent position to reach the bracket stage in the Olympics for the first time in history, in group play thanks to Teresa Patricia Almeida’s magnificent display in goal. Almeida saved 41% of shots faced, a sublime performance in handball.”
“I still get the results” — YES!
“If you are feeling good, you look good, you are confident about yourself, you are going to go out there and you will rock it.” ~ Michelle Carter
This 30-year old athlete made history at this year’s games by being the first woman to win a gold medal in shot put for Team USA.
Her father won the silver medal for shot put at the 1984 LA games, which makes them Team USA’s first father/daughter combination to win medals at the Olympics.
View this post on Instagram
You want to have this moment? BATTLE BACK! People calling you a cheat? Battle back Getting bullied for being fat? Battle back Injured? Battle back Sick? Battle back No money? Battle back No coach? Battle back No place to train? Battle back Bombed out at your last meet? Battle back Being told you didn't earn it? Battle back It's been a long, tough, journey but, I battled my way back. The best performance of my life! Three personal records, made all of my lifts, got closer to the American and Pan American Records, became one of only three American women to earn a medal at the Olympic Games and showed people that it can be done! iSi se puede!
28-year old Robles is known as the strongest woman in America and she uses her platform to also spread body positivity through her own story of bullying and dealing with her own body image issues.
She recently told Reuters.com:
“This means a lot, to be on the podium and give exposure to our sport at a time when it’s already growing. It’s good not just for me but for women of size, for women who want to get up off the couch and do something different.”
Robles won a Bronze medal in Rio, making her the first female Olympian on Team USA to win a medal in weightlifting since 2000.
AND… she did all of this on her own with no sponsorships, as stated in a recent Yahoo.com article about the athlete:
“…she lived on $400 a month — while training to compete in 2012 London Olympics. Despite being the highest-ranked weightlifter in the country (this woman can lift 568 pounds!), she couldn’t manage to score any sponsorships.”
Robles told Buzzfeed back in 2012:
“You can get that sponsorship if you’re a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini. But not if you’re a girl who’s built like a guy.”
Despite all of her struggles to get where she is, Robles never gave up and continues to inspire so many to accept their bodies and know that anything is possible.
Saunders may have come in fifth at the Rio 2016 games but the athlete known as “The Hulk” walks away from the Olympics feeling empowered and ready to come back in 2020.
Though Saunders didn’t take home the gold, her throw was a career best, so she walks away with her head up high. She once wanted to be a basketball player but in her freshman year of high school, her coach suggested track and field and the rest of history.
She told The Clarion-Ledger last month:
“I was really shocked (when I qualified). I was in first (at the U.S. Olympic Trials) still going into the last throw. Even on Michelle’s (Carter) last throw where she won, I basically started crying at the fact that I am Olympian. Not a lot of athletes can say that.”
All of these Olympians show that athletes come in all sizes and can excel at what they put their minds to. We’re really looking forward to Tokyo 2020 Olympics to see more body diversity at the games.