“I think, as a society, we tend to celebrate when men show off their bodies, and then sometimes we’re judging when women do it. And I think it’s really important to say, “Hey, girls can be strong. Girls can have muscles.” -Jessie Diggins 

With a final lunge of the ski at the finish line, Jessie Diggins made history by winning Team USA’s first ever gold in cross country during the 2018 Winter Games in Pyongchang.  While some might assume an athlete of her caliber would have lots of confidence about her outward appearance, Jessie’s participation in the Body Issue comes after struggling with a healthy body image in her younger years:

“When I was 18-19 years old, I had everything in the world going for me, but I struggled with confidence and didn’t love myself. I suffered from an eating disorder, and eventually sought help at a treatment center, checking in for a summer program that saved my life. So when I was approached about the ESPN issue, I thought “is this REALLY something I want to do? Will it bring back old memories? Will I be ok with everyone seeing my body exactly as it is?”

Jessie has conquered her body image issues and now wants to spread the message of body positivity by embracing her own in the pages of ESPN Magazine:

“And the answer was yes. I am so far recovered and removed from that period in my life that it can’t hurt me anymore. Internet trolls can’t hurt me either, I’ve had practice with those beauties for years! Realizing that I was confident enough in my own skin to say “yep, this is what training so many hours makes my body look like” was an amazing moment for me. While I’m realistically not going to love it every second of every day, I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of my fast legs, my strong arms, my core and my mental toughness that got me through the hardest time of my life. Posing for ESPN was a real full-circle moment for me, and a chance for me to use a large stage to waltz right up to the microphone and share a message that I think is extremely important, and long overdue.”

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Jessie wrote a really nice piece on her blog about what participating in ESPN Magazine’s Body Issue meant to her. PLEASE READ HERE.

Read ESPN interview with Jessie HERE.

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