The Hidden Diversity of Athletes

Laurie and Debbie say:

Before the holidays, comic artist Nina Matsumoto blogged an amazing set of photographs of Olympic athletes. The photographs, by Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein, are studio shots of dozens of athletes from different sports.

six athletes, including four jumpers, a gymnast, and a wrestler

(The captions give the athletes’ names and sports. You can see them by going to Matsumoto’s blog and clicking on the individual photographs.)

Matsumoto says:

This photoshoot serves as awesome reference reminding us artists that strong bodies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and muscles show up in different ways. It also helps us keep in mind that not everyone who is fit is also lean. There’s often a layer of fat over the muscles, making them less visible for some.

four athletes, including Cheryl Haworth, well-known fat weightlifter

As a society, we have a tendency to think that “athletic” is a body type, instead of being aware of just how much athletes’ bodies adapt (through incredibly hard work) to their chosen sports. We rarely get to see the range of athletic bodies, which means that most athletes rarely get to see images of themselves outside of the locker rooms and arenas of their own sports.

bodybuilders and weightlifters

The most common image we associate with “athlete” in these times is the image of the bodybuilder. In fact, bodybuilding is not a sport in any meaningful sense of the word, although it is an Olympic competition. Bodybuilders are sculpting their bodies to match a particular aesthetic; the muscle-building is for how it looks, not what else it does. A dedicated bodybuilder is not likely to be an especially good gymnast, runner, skier, swimmer, fencer, or weightlifter, to name a few.

Take your time with the pictures; you’ll get a lot out of looking at them.

Thanks to wordweaverlynn for the pointer.