Olympians… they come in all shapes and sizes.
Something many of you guys may not know: while I was, say, 14-16, I was an Olympic hopeful (albeit a slim chance). I know how hard you have to work, the hours in the pool, gym, track, etc. In my case, it was for synchronized swimming, and our team never got past regionals. But I digress.
Because of this dedication, I fondly try to set aside as much time as possible for 2 weeks every two years to watch the spectacle that is the Olympic games. Something I am noticing more and more this year about Olympic athletes (despite the corporate scramble to pay athletic beauty with sponsor deals, which conversely erases the fat or less attractive athletes): they do indeed come in all shapes, sizes and levels of beauty.
Maybe it’s been the involvement of Fat Acceptance in my life. I guess I didn’t notice this during the winder Olympics, you know, puffy ski jackets and all. But now its summer. With swimsuits and tank tops and bikinis in some cases — shorts and a t-shirt at the very BEST of times — showing athletic bodies of all shapes and sizes.
This is Kimberly Rhode. After her performance this week in London, Rhode is the first American with individual medals in five straight Olympics. Rhode won women’s skeet shooting Sunday, tying a world record and setting the Olympic mark with 99 points – meaning she missed once in 100 shots. She was eight targets better than silver medalist Wei Ning of China and nine better than Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova, who topped Russia’s Marina Belikova in a shootout for the bronze. She certainly isn’t waif thin. She’s stocky, plus-sized, and no one can doubt she is dominating her sport. She’s practicing and training seven days a week in her sport, all year long.
The Italian archery team had at least one bear of a man trounce our American team. These guys regularly hold a 50 pound bow in one hand, and can draw back 200 pounds of psi (pounds per square inch) to launch their arrow 70 meters towards a target just at 280 feet per second or around 190 mph. I’m pretty sure, as an Olympic athlete who trains for his sport for hours and hours each day to get to that level of competitiveness, and that he is physically fit, despite what the trolls over on Yahoo! news have to say.
The Melbourne newspaper, Herald Sun, asked if Australian swimmer Leisel Jones was too fat for the Olympics. The paper published recent photos of Leisel and compared them to photos of her from 2008, and included the caption, “The Olympic veteran’s figure is in stark contrast to 2008.” The suggestion is that she does not look as good as she once did. A poll accompanied the photos, asking readers if she was “fit” enough to compete in the Olympics. It was quickly taken down, but the level of idiocy astounds me. These people are pushing their bodies to do truly amazing things. and all people care about is how they look. I promise if she’s bad at her sport and not fit to qualify, then she wouldn’t have made the team.
In May 2012, a senior UK athletic professional said that heptathlete Jessica Ennis was “too fat” and was carrying “too much weight.” She is if 5’5″ and 126 lbs. All muscle. SHE’S A HEPTATHLETE, as in running, sprinting, hurdles, throwing heavy things long distances, jumping over stuff as high as you can. How can you be too fat for that? Shouldn’t you NEED muscle? She doesn’t even “look” fat. That is the problem with using looks or BMI as an indicator of health or weight. It just doesnt work.
The strongest women in America, weightlifters Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold, don’t get the same kind of sponsorships as thin, lean female athletes. Media coverage almost always mentions their weight and/or body type before noting how much they can lift. It’s as though their size renders all other accomplishments moot. Conan O’Brien has lost my faithful watchership of over 15 years due to his repeated mocking of Holley Mangold. On July 28, he tweeted “I predict 350 lb. weight lifter Holley Mangold will bring home the gold and 4 guys against their will.” Why, Conan, why?
And this is just the beginning, just the list of what I have seen and noticed. I’m sure there are tons of fatter soccer players, table tennis players, canoers, etc., who don’t get their fair share of camera time. But these Olympic athletes, whose bodies still show us the diversity of nations — the diversity of shapes, sizes and colors that define the human condition — prove the diversity of fit (not necessarily skinny or fat) athletes and show what the human body can do.
Hi there, this is Atchka! and I wanted to throw in a few that I just stumbled across on Facebook.
Reese Hoffa has won the Bronze in shot put at the age of 34, Hoffa used his moment in the spotlight to promote the adoption process. At the age of 4, Hoffa and his brother were put up for adoption shortly after he burned their house down while they were playing with lighters. When Hoffa finally met his biological mother, he apologized to her, but she assured him it was because she was so young (19) and didn’t think she could give him the life he deserved. This is Hoffa’s second, and last, Olympic appearance. Hoffa can also complete the Rubik’s cube in 30 seconds.
Of course, shot putters are historically larger as well, so Hoffa is not the only larger Olympic shot putter. There’s also the following athletes as well:
I can’t find a full list of women’s shot putting anywhere, but after they compete on August 6, I will be happy to update. But women’s discus throw is over, so in that event we’ve got the following:
Darya Pishchalnikova of Russia (who won silver)
I add these in response to Barnum Bailey questioning the athleticism of those in the archery and rifle shooting categories. I understand what Barnum is saying, but I think it’s ridiculous to question the fitness of anyone, especially an Olympic competitor. This post is not about rating the fitness of these people. This post is about giving pause to our assumptions about athleticism and fitness.
That someone would go, “Yeah, but she’s just shootin’ a gun… that ain’t exercise.”
Does that mean she doesn’t exercise at all? And even if she doesn’t, who the hell are you to even be discussing her fitness. Are you her doctor? Her secret boyfriend?
And if, for some bizarre reason, it is your business whether these people are healthy, then I want to know all about your life too, Barnum. Do you smoke? Drink? Use narcotics? Have unsafe sex? Drive fast? Live hard?
Personally, I don’t care about the answers to those questions. If I did, I have no clue how I would be able to enjoy my own life with all the self-destructive assholes out there. But if you see Reese Hoffa walkin’ down the street gnawin’ on a turkey leg or Holley Mangold enjoying the crap out of an ice cream cone, and you assume they are gluttonous sloths who don’t take care of themselves, then you are dead wrong.
These are Olympic athletes, and shame on anyone for assuming otherwise.
They are also people. And all people, regardless of what they look like, are allowed to pursue the lifestyle they choose.
So, whether your questions about the personal choices of fat people are right or wrong doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re dickweed for even asking.
As I continue to discover more “fat” Olympians (the definition of “fat” here being that they appear fat when you look at them), I will continue to update, so we may document all of the fatties who are shattering records, and assumptions, about what fat bodies are capable of.
Women’s Weightlifting (Super Heavyweight)
Zhou Lulu of China (gold medalist and lifted record-breaking 734-pound combined total)
Tatiana Kashirina of the Russian Federation (silver medalist)
Mi-Ran Jang of the Republic Of Korea (4th place)
Ele Opeloge of Samoa (6th place)
Sarah Robles of the United States (7th place)
Oliba Seledina Nieve Arroyo of Ecuador (8th place)
Mami Shimamoto of Japan (9th place)
Holley Mangold of the United States (10th place)
Maryam Usman of Nigeria (injured)
Men’s Judo (Heavyweight)
Andreas Toelzer of Germany (in white) (bronze medalist tied)
Rafael Silva of Brazil (in white) (bronze medalist tied)
Janusz Wojnarowicz of Poland (in blue)
Yerzhan Shynkeyev of Kazakhstan (in blue)
Oscar Brayson of Cuba (in blue)
Ricardo Blas Jr of Guam (heaviest Olympian at 481 pounds) (in white)
Facinet Keita of Guinea (in white)
Ihar Makarau of Belarus (in blue)
Daiki Kamikawa of Japan (left)
Darrel Castillo of Guatemala (in blue)
Sung-Min Kim of the Republic of Korea (in white)
Tomohiko Hoshina of the Philippines (in white)
Stanislav Bondarenko of Ukraine (giant man in the middle)
Adam Okruashvili of Georgia (in blue)
Vladut Simionescu of Romania (in blue)
Barna Bor of Hungary (in white)
Mohammad Rodaki of Iran (in white)
El Mehdi Malki of Morocco (in blue)
Women’s Judo (Heavyweight)
Idalys Ortiz of Cuba (in white) (gold medalist)
Mika Sugimoto of Japan (in white) (silver medalist)
Wen Tong of the People’s Republic of China (in white) (bronze medalist tied)
Urszula Sadkowska of Poland (in blue)
Gulsah Kocaturk of Turkey (in blue)
Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia (first female Olympian from Saudi Arabia)
Melissa Mojica of Puerto Rico (in blue)
Giovanna Blanco of Venezuela (in blue)
Na-Young Kim of Republic of Korea (in blue)
Maria Suelen Altheman of Brazil (in white)
And as an added bonus, Altheman took part in a tropical island shoot with the rest of the Brazilian women’s judo team.
It’s the bathing beauty who can kick some serious butt!
Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday, but I hope to make up for it today. First up, a few key members of the various women’s water polo teams, followed by a full review of the men’s and women’s shot putters and discus hurlers who I did not include previously.
Jin He of China (Number 5)
Holly Lincoln-Smith of Australia (arms raised)
Pavel Lyzhyn of Belarus (8th place)
Lijiao Gong of China
(4th place) (bronze medalist)
Ling Li of China (
5th 4th place)
Michelle Carter of the United States (
6th 5th place)
Xiangrong Liu of China (
7th 6th place)
Irina Tarasova of Russian Federation (
9th 8th place)
Natalia Duco of Chile (
10th 9th place)
Christina Schwanitz of Germany (
11th 10th place)
Ehsan Hadadi of Iran (silver medalist)
That’s all for now. Check back later for more updates!