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The Vastly Different Bodies of Champion Athletes

All 5 women pictured here are world-class athletes that have spent years honing their bodies into perfection. On the left is Kim Chizevsky, a bodybuilder. In the center is Cheryl Haworth, a weightlifter. On her left is Olga Karminsky, a rhythmic gymnast. They all look different, but they all compete at the top level.

Howard Schatz photographed them and many others for his book Athlete. You can see more sample pages at My Modern Met. They make you re-think what it means to have a healthy body.


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At the Olympic level, it's both. There are plenty of people in each sport who love the sport and train all their lives, and a few whose bodies are also perfect for it. Those people tend to rise to the highest levels. Like Michael Phelps, who has that seven-foot wingspan. He would be a great swimmer without those long arms and wide chest because of his training and drive, but would he be the best in the world? Who knows.
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The only question i have after looking at the pictures is that, does the athlete select his sport after the shape of his body, or does the training and the sport form the athletes body? I presume both are partially true..
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There is little need to emphasize American women. By far the heaviest person shown is a man, in the very bottom picture. The heaviest Olympic competitor is Ricardo Blas, Jr., at 200+ kg. Should we discourage judo? It shows several boxers, and over 10% of professional boxers get dementia pugilistica. Should we discourage boxing (which some do)? One of the rhythmic gymnasts is standing en pointe, which may lead to life-long foot problems. Should we discourage ballet? And so on.

I do agree that John's comment about "healthy body" wasn't quite on topic. The linked-to article explored what it means to have an athletic build, not a healthy one.
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