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Olympians… they come in all shapes and sizes.

August 3, 2012

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:

Christian Cantwell of the United States

Chiara Rosa of Italy

Jillian Camarena-Williams of the United States

Dylan Armstrong of Canada

Dorian Scott of Jamaica

Ming-Huang Chang of Taiwan

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)

Yarelys Barrios of Cuba

Stephanie Brown Trafton of the United States

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.

Update 2

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)

Right off the bat, check out the winner’s stand

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)

Cedric Mandembo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (in blue)

Women’s Judo (Heavyweight)

Once again, the champions

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)

Vanessa Zambotti of Mexico

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)

Lucija Polavder of Slovenia

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!

Update 3

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.

Women’s Water Polo

Melissa Seidemann of the United States (right)

Brenda Villa of the United States

Brenda Villa in Action

Brenda Villa in Fashion

Jin He of China (Number 5)

Barbara Bujka of Hungary

Holly Lincoln-Smith of Australia (arms raised)

Elisa Casanova of Italy

Men’s Shot Put

Pavel Lyzhyn of Belarus (8th place)

Ralf Bartels of Germany

Marco Fortes of Portugal

Georgi Ivanov of Bulgaria

Mihail Stamatoyiannis of Greece

Maris Urtans of Latvia

Borja Vivas of Spain

Stephen Saenz of Mexico

Adriatik Hoxha of Albania

Justin Rodhe of Canada

Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus

Nedzad Mulabegovic of Croatia

Om Prakash Singh of India

Kim Christensen of Denmark

Carl Myerscough of Great Britain

Amin Nikfar of Iran

Emanuele Fuamatu of Samoa

Jun Zhang of China

Women’s Shot Put

Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus (gold medalist) (disqualified for doping)

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)

In action

In a flesh-colored body suit

Christina Schwanitz of Germany (11th 10th place)

Leyla Rajabi of Iran

Anna Avdeeva of Russian Federation

Sandra Lemos of Colombia

Tia Brooks of The United States

Ana Pouhila of Tonga

In action

In fashion

Men’s Discus

Ehsan Hadadi of Iran (silver medalist)

Piotr Malachowski of Poland

Scott Martin of Australia

Ercument Olgundeniz of Turkey

Mart Israel of Estonia

Julian Wruck of Australia

German Lauro of Argentina

Jason Morgan of Jamaica

Yunio Lastre of Cuba

 Women’s Discus

Wen-Hua Li of Taipei

Aretha Thurmond of the United States

Nicoleta Grasu of Romania

Andressa de Morais of Brazil

Karen Gallardo of Chile

Monique Jansen of Netherlands

Sviatlana Siarova of Belarus

That’s all for now. Check back later for more updates!

69 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2012 1:33 pm

    Someone needs to tell NBC that the Olympics is not about whether you’ve got a nice ass… it’s how hard you’ve busted your ass to get to that level of competition. These are amazing, talented, dedicated people and they ALL deserve some respect for what they’ve done to get to this point.


    • August 4, 2012 2:30 pm

      I could not agree more. We don’t need to spend our lives worrying that even though we’ve worked hard to get where we are, we fail to meet some exacting standard.

      • smartandchic permalink
        August 4, 2012 3:54 pm

        I completely agree! Whether you’re thick or thin it shouldn’t matter…fact of the matter is that we are all human beings…we are all the same…what makes us different is the level of determination we have for something…once you put your mind to something, you will achieve it…and if someone says you can’t because of your weight, then prove them wrong and show them how capable you are of achieving it!

  2. August 3, 2012 1:36 pm

    Erin’s post is about to get Freshly Pressed, so if you’ve come from there and are planning to post some monosyllabic rant about The DeathFatz, be sure to check out our intro page, which explains our comment policy, including the Clear and Present Asshole Rule. We tolerate dissent, not disrespect.


  3. August 4, 2012 2:36 pm

    Hi Erylin,
    I love your take on the definition of female beauty and health! I agree with it. Here’s to curvy woman kind–healthy at any weight! Snap!
    Cheers! Grati ;->
    P.S. I couldn’t get your Olympic athlete photos to load, despite trying two browsers. Boo hoo!

  4. August 4, 2012 2:42 pm

    What a refreshing and rational take on body shape! Congrats on being FP’ed – it’s how I found you.

  5. August 4, 2012 3:16 pm

    Well said and unfortunatley so true. There’s definitely an association with thinness and health which is absolutely not right. Anyone can be thin and unhealthy, and weight/BMI as you say, has nothing to do with fitness. It would be nice if we could just concentrate on healthy accomplishments (and during Olympic/world class athletic competitions, amazing feats), and forget about aesthetics. Great post!

  6. August 4, 2012 3:16 pm

    Absolutely awesome. So much of what I have been thinking. It is a slap in the face to these people who have worked so hard to then get judged, mocked, or just ignored because they aren’t skinny and “fit-looking.” I have made it a goal to think less of appearance myself and help raise awareness in others as well. Sad when this even applies in the Olympics.

  7. August 4, 2012 3:45 pm

    I agree that physical appearance isn’t NECESSARILY a good indicator of ‘fitness’. Apparently, my body fat % puts me in the average range and my BMI puts me as slightly overweight but in local endurance events I finish anywhere from the 90th to 99th percentile depending on how competitive the event is. I am long ways away from an Olympic athlete but my fitness is far from average. My point simply being I identify with your point.

    HOWEVER, using archers and rifle shooters as an example of ‘overweight’ people who are fit because they compete in an Olympic event is dubious. Archery and rifle shooting are SKILLS that do not require endurance, flexibility, speed, agility or really strength. They require hand/eye coordination, technique and a steady hand.

    Calling Jessica Ennis ‘fat’ is absolutely ridiculous. Pointing out a weightlifter’s weight is far from irrelevant. Greater muscle mass, which often comes with weight, means you can lift more.

    • August 5, 2012 12:01 am

      There are lots of people who are active and fit that don’t fit the stereotype of what is considered “in shape”. The point he’s making is that they TRAIN for hours a day. They aren’t sitting on a couch eating chips and then going to the olympics and shooting a gun or arrows. This is the problem with the media and the way people think. You don’t have to have a six pack to be in shape or be healthy, but people can’t let it go like a dog worrying over a bone.

      • August 5, 2012 4:44 pm

        I agree. It’s a very thin line though between you “don’t have to be Greek god with chiseled abs to be healthy and athletic and I’m overweight and I’m healthy because the standard is unrealistic and distorted.” No, you’re not healthy because the standard is unrealistic and the vast, vast, vast majority of people can’t hope to meet it. The fact is being “overweight” puts you at greater risk of certain health problems. That doesn’t mean that ALL people who are “overweight” are unhealthy or not athletic but there are risks associated with being “overweight.”

        The point I was making, which he didn’t understand or chose to ignore, is that archery and rifle shooting aren’t good examples to prove the point that you can be “healthy” or “athletic” and “overweight”. They are not a good examples because they are not sports that REQUIRE–as a point of emphasis to distinguish from suggesting anyone isn’t fit–you to be particularly “fit” or “healthy”.

        If you can stand on two feet and hold a gun you can shoot a rifle. That does not REQUIRE fitness. I wasn’t questioning their exceptional SKILL or many hours of training and practice. I was questioning whether being in the Olympics necessarily means you’re healthy and fit when you’re talking about a sport that doesn’t REQUIRE either. Go shooting at the target range and tell me that it challenges your agility, endurance, flexibility, speed or even strength. It’ll challenge you’re hand/eye coordination, the steadiness of your hands, etc.

        • August 5, 2012 4:57 pm

          First of all, the post wasn’t originally intended to document healthy fat people. It was to celebrate heavier Olympians, who normally are left out of the mainstream coverage. Erylin, who wrote the original post, did not say, “Here’s a list of people who prove you can be fat and fit.” Perhaps you missed it:

          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.

          So I ask you what the point of questioning the athleticism inherent in those two sports have to do with anything?


        • Jon permalink
          March 12, 2015 9:49 pm

          I know this is VERY OLD, but I feel like I should say that Archery requires A LOT of strength at that level. The bow itself is 45lbs+, and the draw weight is usually >200lbs. And with rifle shooting, holding a 15 to 25 pound gun steady for shooting clay is hard for even “fit” people. Muscle and endurance is required, that is the point the author is making.

    • Kala permalink
      August 5, 2012 7:55 pm

      Are you for real? Have you tried archery? They’re not using crossbows. Archery requires strength and stability, in addition to coordination and other things. Shooting is less so in the strength department, but I have a feeling that having the stability to shoot at 500+ targets every day of training requires a significant level of fitness.

  8. August 4, 2012 3:57 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to publish and blog what truly should not be a “fight” to be accepted.
    Stay fit, stay healthy, stay YOU!


  9. August 4, 2012 3:57 pm

    Amen to this. Let’s hope the rest of the world gets your message in as timely a fashion as everything “thin” tends to trend out there. Well written 🙂

  10. August 4, 2012 4:31 pm

    Just let’s be sure to walk our talk. None of my friends is skinny-beautiful, but they all are wonderful.

  11. murphymusthavehadkids permalink
    August 4, 2012 6:00 pm

    Great post! Thanks for making me aware of how awesome this is. 🙂

  12. August 4, 2012 6:01 pm

    The air smells different on this blog. I finally feel at home. Fatties unite! Awesome post by the way!

  13. sex2poetry4life permalink
    August 4, 2012 6:19 pm

    Well said – and necessarily so, too. I love your humor and common sense here.

  14. August 4, 2012 7:33 pm

    Wow . . . As a teenage girl, I realize that the media is very fickle and mean . . .

    But wow. In all but one of the pictures, I didn’t know that those women were even considered plus-size!

  15. Sarah Harris permalink
    August 4, 2012 8:33 pm

    OMG NBC is so ignorant!! All these comments and making snarky comments about Gabby Douglas’ hair! I would pull the Olympics contract from them as they are tarnishing the medals and dishonoring the games.
    Bottom line is these people worked hard and qualified. Sorry that some people are so insecure about the fact that they didn’t. To all the Olympians – Great job! Don’t listen to haters, you are our heroes!

  16. yourothermotherhere permalink
    August 4, 2012 8:41 pm

    What a refreshing post on the Olympics and body acceptance. I just read an article today that stated you don’t want to sit next to a fat person on a plane because they sweat more and stink. I’m curious to know how the author came to that conclusion. How many fat people have they sat next to on a plane or anyplace else? I would love to see their published report on how fat people sweat and smell more than other people. I have to wonder what they call themselves? Professional Fat Sniffer? This is on par with the erroneous phrases “fat and stupid” or “big fat liar” just like “fat and lazy”. Fat people need not apply? Your post goes a long way towards changing that idiocy.

  17. August 4, 2012 9:18 pm

    Great post on what athleticism is. Definitely not necessary a waist size or a BMI. The Olympics is defined by dedication and skill, and not a pin-up of an athlete in a swimsuit.
    Congrats on the FP’d. Well deserved.

  18. Beef Supreme permalink
    August 4, 2012 9:18 pm

    Lysdexics of the world untie!

  19. August 4, 2012 10:22 pm

    Reblogged this on MyBlissPoint and commented:
    I LOVE this post!! The blog is pretty amazing too.

  20. August 5, 2012 12:46 am

    wow.. really superb.

  21. August 5, 2012 2:18 am

    Good collection of photographs on olympics. I have a Santa Banta version of Olympics, check out on

  22. August 5, 2012 2:33 am

    We loved reading your post and seeing all these great photos! We love the Olympics!! The Olympians are so inspiring. They all have amazing stories of sacrifice, dedication and courage. We LOVE to see you celebrating many Olympians here that network TV won’t be showcasing because they don’t “fit the mold” of whatever TV-land thinks “fitness” should look like. (as you’ve pointed out so well, they wouldn’t BE Olympians if they weren’t ass-kickin’ heroes).
    Congrats on being Fresh Pressed. 🙂

  23. Jeff permalink
    August 5, 2012 2:51 am

    Great post! While I have generally been what most people would call “in good shape” most of my life, I am constantly amazed when a person I view as being “out of shape” passes me in a 10K or chugging up a hill past me on a bike or swimming 5-10 laps at the Olympic pool in our apartment complex. How many ripped athletes die at an earlier age than expected? Health is determined by so many factors: Regular exercise and the level which you exercise, a good healthy diet and positive focus (family, friends, stress free) in your life. We come in all shapes and sizes and I applaud all who work and dedicate their lives to accomplishing great things. My daughter is a cross fit athlete with a husky body type and she puts most other “athletes” to shame. Keep livin’, lovin’ and competing…

  24. August 5, 2012 3:02 am

    Reblogged this on AshbourneVoice and commented:
    This is a great topical commentary with a different viewpoint. I love blogs which cover taboos

  25. August 5, 2012 5:49 am

    Very well said! I’m loving the Olympics, it’s also because stereotypes of strength and beauty are validated.

  26. grimdon01 permalink
    August 5, 2012 7:14 am

    This chap was absolutely brilliant as well.

    I’d forgotten about the ridiculousness that had surrounded Jess Ennis earlier this year – carrying too much weight…!

    • August 5, 2012 5:08 pm

      Oh man, thanks for that! I’ll have to check out the Judo champs for more photos. I appreciate the tip! Welcome to Fierce Fatties!


  27. August 5, 2012 8:14 am

    Thank you for exposing a matter which many choose to keep quiet. God bless!

  28. August 5, 2012 8:42 am

    I always thought that particular sport athletes looked similar since they focus on building muscle related to their sport. Like gymnasts have strong leg and arm muscles. Swimmers having broad strong shoulders. But like you, I realized during this olympics that isn’t always the case. I think it’s great to see the relay teams standing next to one another…one shorter and slimer than the rest. Or seeing the different shapes of the 100 m final heat racers. No matter their shape, all athletes work hard at training for their sport. Thanks for your post!

    • August 5, 2012 5:01 pm

      Exactly… different bodies are useful in different sports. I was a wrestler and there was a “better” body shape (short and stocky) because the center of gravity matters a lot in wrestling. Anyone can do any sport, but it seems that at Olympic levels of competition, those advantageous body types become more noticeable in the sport. Hence the Jessica Ennis nonsense. She stands out slightly and gets reamed for it. But it’s about performance, not looks.

      Thanks for the comment and welcome to Fierce Fatties.


  29. August 5, 2012 10:23 am

    Ew Conan sucks, Mangold deserves the same respect as all of our other Olympians. Great post!

  30. August 5, 2012 10:32 am

    Great post! Different body types are just that DIFFERENT. It’s crazy that our society’s fixation with a certain body type overshadows the incredible feats these athletes overcome physically, mentally and emotionally to get where they are.

  31. August 5, 2012 11:19 am

    WELL SAID, everyone needs to read this

  32. August 5, 2012 11:21 am

    I worry how the negative coverage of “larger” Olympic athletes effects a younger generation. Knowing more people are alarmed by this gives me some hope.

  33. August 5, 2012 1:26 pm

    What a well-put piece; congratulations on having it featured in Freshly Pressed. I think our culture often confuses fit with thin and unfit with fat, and you’ve obviously illustrated that this is not the case.

    Interesting to note though that of the athletes you cited as being large, most were in competing in areas of strength (weight lifting, shot put) rather than endurance or speed. I would be interested to know if there are any overweight athletes who are successful in these kinds of events.

  34. August 5, 2012 1:39 pm

    well put whoever you are 🙂

    • August 5, 2012 4:37 pm

      Welcome olivetreez,
      Erylin wrote the original post and I wrote the update, having found a few good examples. You can meet all 13 of the fatties in our bio section.


  35. August 5, 2012 6:41 pm

    Interesting post. Let me start with the title- yes, Olympians do come in all shapes and sizes, and far from that being a problem, perhaps we should be celerating tat. Though not an expert in sports science, what little I know is enough to realise that different disciplines, different events require different physiques/different body types, and perhaps the real beauty of the Olympics is that diversity of events. Perhaps the problem is the fact that society tends to judge too often upon the basis of conventional attractiveness, rather than on their ability to do well in the sport. Leaving aside Jessica Ennis’ being criticised over being allegedly “too fat” (eh? who pays so much attention as all that, let alone even questioning how a world-class athlete at the top level of her game can possibly be fat anyway?), she is perhaps more conventionally attractive (if not what one would think of as absolutely perfec beauty?) than some, and makes a more ideal poster-girl than some who are a bit larger or otherwise less conventionally attractive. Is this necessarily a good thing either? Not of course to deny that Ennis got the gold and made all us here in Britian proud for that reason!

    An lest you take offence, yes, it is worth pointing out that certain elements of physical strength might not matter to shooting as much as good concentration and a steady hand- and also worth pointing out that it doesn’t matter in the sense of ‘so what?’ they have still built themselves up to do what they need to do for that sport at Olympic level, which is an achievement worth noticing.

    And certainly those who might require a bit more bulk, such as those in throwing events or weightlifting, can surely not be ‘fat’, rather ‘well-built’? (In the positie sense- that they have bult their body up to be able to compete well in a physical discipline at Olympic level!)

  36. wollypark permalink
    August 6, 2012 3:49 am

    Hi super…can i add your blog to mine as a post?? Just love this take on the Olympics!!

  37. August 6, 2012 3:52 am

    Reblogged this on Morrisminorarcana's Blog.

  38. August 6, 2012 4:56 pm

    I think the biggest issue is that for crticism to be valid we really need to compare the achievements of those that criticize versus those that they criticize.

    There are lots of moralistic, judgemental sorts who believe that these people are fat and disgusting but as yet not seeing any of them in any olympic events let alone winning the very same events and competitions that got these people to this level.

    We have lost sight of what matters in this obsession with thin & beautiful. The larger part of society doesn’t like fatties, they also think they are lazy and yet when fat people are doing something towards moving their bodies and something they love and train in, they are still disgusting and too fat? It makes no sense to me to condemn how people look who are doing the very thing we hear that people need to be doing to be apparently healthy? Oh wait that’s right we only want people to exercise so they avoid getting fat or to lose weight. And having fat people being successful and active isn’t demonstrating the ideal body that is used to sell crap programs and products that are fueling the trillion dollar die-t industry.

  39. August 7, 2012 8:54 am

    Awesome post! As a personal trainer, being “skinny” isn’t what’s important. It’s being fit and healthy. With the correct nutrition and exercise, your body will find it’s happy size, which may be a size 4 or a size 18. Olympians in all sports are under an enormous amount of physical and psychological stress and some of them need more body fat and muscle to function as it should for that sport.

  40. Tholian8 permalink
    August 7, 2012 1:56 pm

    I was lucky enough to be able to attend the women’s heavyweight Olympic weightlifting final in London. Every single one of the athletes produced a beautiful display of strength, power, determination, and – yes – even grace, and the atmosphere was one of TOTAL respect and enthusiastic support for these women, their bodies, and their efforts. It was one of the most absolutely awesome things I have ever gone to.

  41. Mulberry permalink
    August 8, 2012 10:27 pm

    That’s all pretty silly Ed, or should we call you Fat Bastard?
    If you knew anything about competitive eating, for example, you’d be aware that skinny people often win that one. As for “most meds”, why not try a nursing home for possible contestants? Or perhaps GI Joel, a slightly-built Scrabble master. I’ve read (might have been in the book Word Freak) that he was known to take something like 60 pills a day. Diabetics don’t often lose legs these days, and amputees generally get artificial legs. If it’s amputees you want, look around the world’s minefields.
    There’s a competition in this blog you might like. it’s called the Clear and Present Asshole Rule. You may have won it for today. Congrats!

    • August 8, 2012 11:00 pm

      He must be bored. I heard he’s been trolling Pattie Thomas lately to no avail. I would have gotten here sooner, but Fat Kid Rules the World was tonight. And since I have a life, I don’t have to spend my time policing his multiple personalities. Does he really think we’d let him promote his hateblog here? Does he really think we’d be like, “Hey, what a coincidence, this guy likes Fat Bastard’s insipid blathering as much as Fat Bastard”?

      In any case, you don’t see many waifs hurling discus or launching a 16 pound shot across the field. Every sport has a body type that performs the way the sport was intended. But what is wrong with seeing the sport performed with larger bodies? It’s not that there can’t be fat gymnasts. It’s that society is used to seeing the form of thin gymnasts. I’d be curious to see what fat gymnastics would look like.


  42. Athlete permalink
    August 9, 2012 1:30 am

    The shot putters beef up when they are competitive ans slim down when they retire. If fat people were wining metals then we’d hear about them. When a fat gut wins the decathlon then you can talk.

    Heavy weight power lifters have an advantage with balance but when they retire they slim down.

    Let’s see some fatty win in swimming, cycling, running, diving, boxing, beach volley ball, skating, hockey, skiing, pole vault, long jump, gymnastics, badminton, tennis,

    Here’s the hammer throw winner..

    Shot put winner

    The weight lifters in the lower weight classes are lean.

    Silver medal shot put

    Bronze medal

    None of them are fat. There is a difference between fat and muscle.

    Watch this video of a fat fighter fighting a 159 pound fighter.

    Face facts Shannon.

    • August 9, 2012 9:44 am

      First of all, Fat Bastard, I’m only allowing this comment because it’s free from your usual hatefulness, but I see you tried swapping IPs, emails and identities in an effort to get this through and you raise good questions. Congratulations. If you were capable of this all the time, you might not have earned a permaban. The only reason I’m not enforcing it now is that I know there are others who aren’t trolls who have the same questions and I may as well leverage this for an answer.

      I covered it in this post, but this morning I had the pleasure of hearing NPR discuss how different bodies are suited for different sports. So, no, you’re not likely to see a gymnast who looks like Reese Hoffa, but you’re not likely to see a shot putter who looks like Gabby Douglas.

      And you’ve completely overlooked the female gold medalists in these events, such as the top three judokas, who all appear fat. And there were plenty of non-fat-looking judokas in women’s heavyweight judo.

      But all of this is beside the point because winning gold does not translate into “This is the healthiest person ever!” Every single competitor has earned a place on their country’s respective Olympic team because of their accomplishments. They didn’t get there because somebody felt pity for the fat athlete. The athlete earned their spot, and whether they win the gold, silver or come in dead last, they’ve still accomplished more than you ever will, Fat Bastard.

      As far as the video you sent of the 600-POUND SUMO WRESTLER versus the 165-POUND MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FIGHTER, that is beyond ridiculous. You have chosen the most extreme example you could find to prove your point, and even then, how long did the sumo wrestler last? We can’t tell because the video is edited, but at least five minutes. Do you really think that an out-of-shape, 600 pound person could last in the ring with an MMA fighter for that long (let alone however long they actually sparred) if he wasn’t in decent shape? Also, these are two completely different fighting styles. You didn’t link to a heavyweight boxer versus a lightweight boxer. Why not? Because there are many videos of that sort of competition where the lightweight boxer gets creamed. And even this link that you sent which is supposed to be evidence of… something… even that video showed a pretty close match, where the sumo very nearly defeated the MMA fighter at several points. If the sumo wasn’t a real threat, a real challenge for the MMA fighter, would he have kept his distance for so long? Would he have spent most of the match running around like an idiot? No. He knew that if he got within arm’s reach, the sumo would have destroyed him swiftly. It wasn’t until the sumo was on the ground and the MMA fighter could punch him repeatedly in the head that he tapped out.

      Yes, the sumo was slower and he could not recover from falling, but that is his individual weakness. The lighter fighter has his own weakness, which the sumo exploited to good effect for much of the fight. But I imagine most of this was lost on you, as you probably spent the match giggling like a school girl like the idiotic announcers who sounded like Beavis and Butthead rejects.

      Finally, it does not matter whether a fat person wins a gold medal or not. The point of this series is to inspire fat people to pursue sports, regardless of whether they think they look “right” or will make it to the Olympics. If a fat person wants to become a gymnast, then become a gymnast. Do it because you love to do it. People who take a fat athlete and say, “Yeah, but they can’t beat Joe Sixpack in that sport” are small-minded, idiotic dickweeds who don’t deserve the energy it takes to tell them to feck off. The point of most sports is not to be an Olympian, but to take pleasure in what our bodies can accomplish and to enjoy the sport itself. If you think you have to have a certain body type to do that, then you are missing the forest for the trees.


  43. August 9, 2012 11:23 am

    You guys do know what body composition is right? They may have fat on them but they have plenty of muscle too. I’d wager that none of you have any muscle on you.

    • August 9, 2012 11:55 am

      I’ve removed your link because you’re an asshole and I’ve changed your website to redirect to But to answer your question, I already covered it in this post at length. The point of this post is not to say that body composition doesn’t matter. It’s to show that you cannot determine a person’s body composition by looking at them.

      If you plan to comment further, I suggest you check out our intro post, which will educate you on our comment policy. In short, we tolerate dissent, not dickweeds.


  44. Mulberry permalink
    August 9, 2012 1:58 pm

    AFAIK, long distance swimming and ultramarathons are not for the thin either – some fat helps when you’re in it for the long haul. And if this guy loves the athletic look, I guess he must find fashion models a real turn-off too. True, they’re not supposed to be fat, but they’re also not supposed to look muscular, either.
    If he thinks that fat people have hardly any muscles, I wonder how he thinks the average fat person moves their body from place to place. It’s like working out with weights all the time.
    It’s amazing how fascinated he is with extremes of weight that barely a fraction of a percent of the population ever reaches.

  45. Mulberry permalink
    August 9, 2012 9:16 pm

    Have you picked up any medals lately, Fat Bastard? (Other peoples’ medals don’t count.)

    • August 9, 2012 9:50 pm

      Permaban is back on, FB. Go back to your very important life where you have so many friends you don’t know what to do.


  46. August 13, 2012 11:49 pm

    Whomever the writer of this article obviously does NOT understand the difference between the athletes and the body types required to compete in the various events. For instance, all of the images above with the exception of Leisel “the diesel” Jones are of athletes who compete in ANAEROBIC events, Shot, Discus, Weightlifting, etc,. Jones competes in Swimming events which are AEROBIC in nature, athletes like Runner’s, Wrestler’s, Swimmer’s, Soccer Players, & Volleyball players are all Aerobic athletes none of which have a pound of excess weight on them to spare their bodies are lean and efficient, not the kind of shape Diesel Jones is in. Jones is gross to look at certainly no longer a world class athlete. Flabby and Fat are NOT qualities of an OLYMPIC Athlete and it is a JOKE to attempt to lump JONES in with weightlifter’s and shot-putter’s when comparing body mass, she is a swimmer they are lean and mean not whatever she portends she is today…

    • Mulberry permalink
      August 14, 2012 1:21 am

      What are you complaining about? Are medals somehow worth more if they’re won in aerobic sports? And I see that Ms. Jones was in good enough shape to win a medal, which is more than some entire countries have done. Sounds world-class to me. If you’re only interested in looking at the bodies, perhaps you should confine your tv-watching to beauty contests of both genders.

    • August 14, 2012 9:20 am

      You are so right, bootspur. How dare these ANAEROBIC athletes attend the OLYMPICS! I am outraged and incensed that the OLYMPICS would allow anyone who isn’t absolutely hot into the games. And the fact that Leisel Jones won the SILVER medal in the 4×100 medley relay PROVES she is not a world class athlete. You know what else PROVES that ANAEROBIC athletes a JOKE? RANDOMLY capitalized WORDS to EMPHASIZE my POINT.

      NOW, if you’ll excuse me, I have to return to my RIGOROUS AEROBIC training of TROLLING the internet to WHINGE about OLYMPIC athletes that I deem UNATTRACTIVE.


    • Rory S. permalink
      April 5, 2015 12:09 pm

      What is wrong with you?! Are you some freak who cares only about appearance? These are people in the Olympics who worked their a** of to get there… I bet you haven’t ever even done a fraction of the work they do EVERY F****** DAY!

  47. Kelly permalink
    November 3, 2013 9:28 pm

    I love this article. A similar One on Jezebel has the exact same wording from your bit about Sarah Robles and the other lady. I’m on my my mobile and can’t easily cross reference but I wanted to make sure you weren’t being plagiarized. Both this article and that one came up when I googled “fat Olympians.”

    • November 4, 2013 9:51 am

      I just found the piece you were referencing and you’re right, the wording is almost identical. And the Jezebel piece came out three days before our piece, which was written by erylin. She is no longer a part of our blogging team, so I can’t address this with her, but I do apologize on behalf of our blog for what is clearly plagiarism of that paragraph. I took over the piece from erylin where it says “UPDATED” and know for sure none of that is plagiarized, so I hope this doesn’t completely discredit the piece. I will speak to our bloggers and be sure that we understand the difference between paraphrasing, sourcing and plagiarizing, because it is unfortunate and unfair to Jezebel and Dodai Stewart that this was done. Thank you for pointing it out, I appreciate it.


      • Kelly permalink
        November 4, 2013 1:41 pm

        Oh, good, I’m glad to hear it was a simple issue of it being the same author! Also glad to hear you guys are proactive about this. Keep it up. ❤

  48. November 13, 2014 9:30 pm

    Great post overall.

    But I highly suggest that you fix your post about archery. As a passionate archer myself, everything you said makes no sense at all, to any competent archer. Trust me, I am a Certified Level 1 USA Archery instructor.

    I would believe you meant that the DRAW WEIGHT is 50 pounds, and the impact is about 200 psi. “200 pounds of psi?” That’s like saying “12 feet of ft.”

    The bow will never weigh 50 pounds. The heaviest bows I’ve personally ever seen were seven pounds.

    Also, not all archers shoot their bows at 50 pounds of draw weight. The average is around 35-45 pounds. Some go as high as 55 which is most often the limit of weight you are allowed.

    Lastly, while it does take strength to pull back that weight, you are not necessarily in great physical shape. You’ve mostly just developed a set of muscles using a movement you can’t replicate at the gym.


  1. And I’m back… « Starting Over…
  2. its not a strength issue, it is a mind issue… | myhrlife

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