Stop Calling This Athlete Fat

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prince-852x1024-1Photo: Courtesy of ESPN The Magazine.
ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue is out, and 30-year-old MLB player Prince Fielder is the breakout star — but not for the reason we’d hope. The Internet has exploded with body-shaming comments (which aren't worth showcasing here) that ridicule Fielder for his strong, muscular — but apparently not Greek-God-statue-worthy enough — physique.

Let's get one thing clear: Thigh gaps don’t equate to athletic prowess and performance. It’s time to celebrate what power and strength look like — at any size. The Body Issue is a self-proclaimed “annual exploration and celebration of the athletic form,” says the mag. And, this year’s spot-on choice to feature the powerhouse baseball player (Fielder hit 50 home runs in 2007) is a must-needed reminder that “athletic” is not a body type, despite what dating sites may try to tell you. Athletes come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders, and ages, and they are all equally beautiful and impressive. See more of the athletes featured this year here.

“A lot of people probably think I'm not athletic or don't even try to work out or whatever, but I do," Fielder says in his interview. "Just because you're big doesn't mean you can't be an athlete. And, just because you work out doesn't mean you're going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I'm not going up there trying to be a fitness model,” Oh, and he also hints at his impressive strength: “I think I've leg-pressed 1,000 pounds 12 times.”

Our advice: Let's stop comparing, and start celebrating.