As the proud American record holder in the hammer throw, Amanda Bingson is used to setting standards. Appearing in a complete state of undress for the 2015 edition of the ESPN Body Issue, Bingson does so much more than show that athletes come in all sizes. Showing great candor, admitting that she is not muscular with a six-pack, her courage shines through, representing an internal strength much more captivating than the force used to toss a 4 kg hammer 75.73 meters in 2013 for a new record.
Shattering the myth about female beauty and size, the 210-pound Bingson is more than just powerful; her images reveal an empowering confidence and encouragement for any young women that have struggled with body image issues. Adding to the momentum is the fact that she is featured on one of the six collectible Body Issue covers. Accessorized with only her throwing glove and a tattoo, Bingson demonstrates a striking yet unapologetic influence.
Ironically, Bingson does employ vanity, but the necessity is out of athletic obligation. With the weight from the hammer and the obligatory velocity, her hands endure significant damage, resulting in manicures twice weekly.
Part of what makes Bingson so alluring is the fact that she never let her size interfere with her athletic ambitions. Having always been a plus-size individual, even in adolescence, she refused to give up. Despite being kicked off the volleyball team in high school (her female coach had the audacity to suggest she lose 30 pounds), Bingson is enjoying the last laugh as she looks to add to her legacy with a spot on the US roster at the 2016 Rio Summer Games.
Having resided in Las Vegas for several years, she faced a visual assault of size zero waifs and perfect-looking people who bordered heavily on the superficial. Relocating to Texas, Bingson found an empowering authenticity where people are not ashamed of their bodies and carry themselves with a confidence that is rare in so many other areas.
Taking into account that there are very few crowds when she competes (a difficult reality for some women’s sports), sports fans are catching up on the greatness that is Bingson. The remarkable outpouring of support on social media is testament to the gradual societal changes taking place, resulting in a positive direction forward. Although she conceded that several of her opponents are stronger than her, she has the confidence to state that she likes everything about her body, and that makes her a true champion.