Raisman raises standards on body shaming

Girls are strong, and if you can’t see it, get over it — that’s the message behind Olympian Aly Raisman’s latest string of tweets directed at some very rude body shamers.

According to For The WinRaisman shared a recent encounter with some less-than-friendly TSA agents who identified her by her muscles and continued to comment on her appearance. Raisman tweeted that while one said she “recognized [her] by [her] biceps,” the other male TSA agent said he didn’t see her muscles and then proceeded to stare at the gymnast.

Calling the situation “rude and uncomfortable,” Raisman went on to school everyone on what body shaming means.

“I work very hard to be healthy & fit. The fact that a man thinks he judge my arms pisses me off I am so sick of this judgmental generation,” she tweeted. “If u are a man who can’t compliment a girls [muscles] you are sexist. Get over yourself. Are u kidding me? It’s 2017. When will this change?”

Hopefully tweets like Raisman’s can at least begin to change this culture.


Biles named AP Female Athlete of the Year

With a stellar performance at the summer Olympic games that resulted in 5 medals, it’s safe to say that Simone Biles is considered one of the top names in sports in 2016. But this week, the Associated Press confirmed her elite status, naming her their Female Athlete of the Year.

According to the AP, Biles received the honor after a vote conducted by news editors and directors around the United States; after all the votes were in, Biles came away with the victory after receiving 31 out of a possible 59 votes.

The AP reports that “U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, who won four golds and a silver in Rio, finished second with 20 votes. Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon for the seventh time to tie Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles, and three-time AP women’s NCAA basketball Player of the Year Breanna Stewart tied for third with four votes each.”

The fifth gymnast to receive the title, the AP says previous honorees include “Olga Korbut in 1972, Nadia Comaneci in 1976, Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and Gabby Douglas in 2012.”

Congratulations to the world-class athlete!


Malik fights for Olympic medal

Winning an Olympic medal is surely something to be proud of. But when you’re the first female from your country to medal in your sport, you have every reason to feel like you’re on top of the world.

According to Women in the Worldwrestler Sakshi Malik took home India’s first Olympic medal of the Rio games on Thursday, Aug. 18 after she won bronze in the 58kg women’s wrestling match. Her achievements don’t stop there, however: the win makes her “the first female Indian wrestler, and the fourth Indian woman, to win an Olympic medal,” reports Women in the World.

But the road to her Olympic victory has been far from easy. Women in the World says that Malik her two teammates come from Haryana, “the conservative north Indian state notorious for honor killing and sex-selective abortions — the region has the lowest birth ratio of girls to boys in all of India.”

Beginning her training at the age of 12, Malik said villagers used to shame her for practicing the sport, wrestling with boys and wearing shorts, reports Women in the World — all things that challenge the status quo of an area that didn’t allow girls to train with boys until 2002 and expects women to be fully covered in their dress.

“It hurt a little and I wondered why people said such mean things, especially when I was so young,” Malik said, according to Women in the World.

But now that the athlete has garnered worldwide attention and acclaim, Women in the World says Malik noticed that people have changed the way they treat her. “It’s so weird to see how people can change so suddenly,” she said, “how they take interest in me now that I’m rising to the top, yet didn’t support me when I was starting out.”

The one constant in her life: her family’s support. Without their encouragement, Women in the World reports that Malik knows her life would have taken a more typical path, leaving her married and with children instead of with an Olympic medal.

“My life is very special compared to my friends,” she said.

As for her Olympic win, that, too, did not come easily. Women in the World says Malik battled back from a 0-5 score while squaring off against Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova, only to win by a score of 8-5.

It looks like Malik’s life has a recurring theme: she continues to do the very thing that seems impossible.

Carter puts forth positivity

Many Olympic athletes are considered heroes: whether they help their team to victory or they achieve personal bests, some rise above the rest to be seen as role models. But for American shot put star Michelle Carter, being an inspiration to others doesn’t end once she steps off the field.

According to Micthe Olympic gold medalist not only medaled and broke an American shot put record at this summer’s Rio Olympics, she also lives her everyday life as a “powerful advocate for celebrating body diversity and wearing whatever makes you feel like you.”

Mic says Carter recently imparted a bit of body-positive wisdom in an interview with the New Yorker, explaining that all bodies — no matter their size, shape or capability — have a purpose.

“You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something,” Carter said. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”

But her comments did not end there. Carter — who is also a professional makeup artist with her company called Shot Diva — also shared with the New Yorker that she doesn’t shy away from looking her best when competing, encouraging others to also put forth the best version of themselves.

“For a couple of years, being professional, I kind of questioned myself,” Carter said, according to Mic. “Should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that. And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards. I believe if you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, you’re going to do your best.”

Way to go, Michelle!


U.S. Olympic team has most female athletes in history

The United State’s Olympic team will be sending their most talented athletes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August, but this year’s team is already breaking records before the games even begin.

According to First Coast News, the U.S. Olympic team announced their 555-athlete roster on Monday, July 18, and 292 of those qualified athletes are women. FCN says Olympic historians found that this marks the highest number of women ever competing for a given nation at a single Olympics.

Historians say the previous record was held by China at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, reports FCN, in which 289 women competed in the games.

While the U.S. also had between 282 and 288 female athletes competing in the Beijing games, FCN says that Team USA will boast a team with more women than men for the second straight Olympics following Beijing: “In London, the U.S. had slightly more women than men, the first time in Olympic history that it sent more women than men to an Olympics.”

With the current athlete count sitting at 292 women and 263 men, according to FCN, the roster is subject to additions and substitutions even through the actual Games.

Regardless of potential changes, we’re proud to be represented by the best female — and male — athletes in America.

Taking a Stab at the Olympics

Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is one way to secure a place in history, but one athlete already did just that — without receiving a medal.

According to The Huffington Postfencer Ibtihaj Muhammad earned a bronze in the Women’s Sabre World Cup on Saturday, Jan. 30, thus giving her enough qualifying points represent the United States fencing team at the summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

But Muhammad’s stellar performance isn’t the only thing making headlines, and it’s not what’s written her into history already. Muhammad’s Saturday win not only secured her position on the U.S. Olympic team, but also her status as the first Muslim American to compete in the games wearing a hijab.

Although she has already made history ahead of the Olympics’ Aug. 5 start, Muhammad said she long dreamed of making history with her U.S. fencing teammates. “I have always believed that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I could one day walk with my U.S. teammates into Olympic history.”

The New Jersey native has been fencing since she was 13 years old, something she took up at the suggestion of her mother and eventually led her to continuing the sport throughout her time at Duke University.

“After I graduated from college, I saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport. I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber” Muhammad said in an interview with TeamUSA.org.

While Muhammad knows that she isn’t what people would consider the ‘typical’ Olympic athlete, she is just fine with standing out from the crowd. “When most people picture an Olympic fencer, they probably do not imagine a person like me. Fortunately, I am not most people,” she explained.

But she also hopes that her unique presence on the U.S. Olympic team will inspire others to achieve their dreams.

“I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender. I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”