Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
In the midst of ongoing, growing discussions of body shaming and healthy body image, which were recently surrounding Serena Williams’ sixth Wimbledon victory over the weekend, plenty of other athletes are stepping into the conversation. Lauren Fleshman, a top runner and arguably one of the most outspoken advocates for athletes’ rights and fairness in sport, was among the vocal when she commented on statements made by Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova in a New York Times article.
Said the tennis pro, with a laugh, about her own views on female body image, “I always want to be skinnier with less cellulite; I think that’s every girl’s wish.” Sharapova, who is one of the highest-paid female athletes, goes on to say that she finds weight-lifting pointless and she “can’t handle lifting more than five pounds.”
Fleshman responded by tweeting, “Maria Sharapova’s quote is by far the most disturbing part of this sport vs femininity ridiculousness.” The thread started a bigger conversation among her followers. Fleshman additionally commented, “These women’s responses are products of body shaming too.”
Williams’ sixth Wimbledon title was met with harsh comments regarding her physique—a strong, athletic build that has had critics negatively buzzing with comments such as “built like a man” more than once. In the same article, Williams shares that getting comfortable in her own skin was “a journey,” like it can be for many females. However, the all-star player responded to the naysayers in a big way on her Instagram account; first, with her gorgeous dress from the Wimbledon champions dinner, then with a bikini selfie this morning in Sweden. She’s definitely still winning.