An athlete my size.

I am an athlete.  I am not small or dainty.

I am a former figure skater, and my thighs were built to toss my body and get beat up hours for on end.  I am not a stick, and never was.  I am an Athlete.

I am currently more active than 80% of people I know.  I participate in endless amounts of sports and activities.  I throw this body around as if I weighed 100 lbs.  I am an Athlete.

I was recently told by my Surfset instructor, that joking about being a ‘chubby athlete’ was a defense mechanism.  Not realizing what I was doing I am now correcting my vocabulary to not be so ‘self-deprecating’.  I am an Athlete.

My thighs touch.  My thighs keep me grounded.  My thighs are bigger than yours.  I am an Athlete.

I am a RETIRED competitive athlete.  But! I am still an Athlete.  I may have grown since I retired but my muscles are there.  Strong, powerful and wonderful.

As every year comes and goes, ESPN releases their body issue.  The magazine shows top notch athletes naked in various sports.  It highlights the body, the muscles the athleticism that it takes.  It is the body.  We all have one, those inside the pages are just are athletic.  This issue is always remarkable to study and read how these humans train and sacrifice to be the best they can be. 

Rarely do I see a woman athlete my size, and even rarer, to see her on a magazine, and impossible to ever see her naked.  And then, 2015 happened, and Amanda Bingson made the cover.

The power of having US athlete Amanda Bingson to be selected to be one of the 4 ESPN Body Magazine covers is amazing!   She is me.  She is you. 

She is an athlete that is not small.  The article is fantastic and I encourage you all to read it.  Read about all the athletes frankly, they should also be applauded for their feats.

I want to thank ESPN for opening people’s eyes that just because I am solid and bigger than you expect it makes me no less of an athlete.  And yes, I realize that she is not the only athlete with curves, she clearly has to compete against others, But, this is the first time someone like ‘me’ is showcased.  And for that it is empowering.  Thank you for the reminder ESPN that I too am an athlete worthy of the cover of a magazine.

I am confident about the size of my body.  Hell, it puts up with way more than it should.  I fall down, it gets me back up.  I have scars and bruises, but I wouldn’t trade this model in.  And to quote Bingson “You might be prettier and skinnier than me, but I'll kick your ass in a game of one-on-one.”  That power is confidence.

We are all athletes in our own way.  OWN IT.  Own your strength.  Own your courage.  Own your abilities.  Own your successes and failures.

I am an Athlete.