These photos of incredible female Olympians prove it doesn't matter what size you are.

I don’t need to tell you what we are told our bodies should look like, do I? You’ve heard it all before.

Skinny, of course. Gap between the thighs, a given. Legs longer than your 9-5 workday and if you could limit your chins to one that would be ideal, thanks.

Except for many of us, that’s not our body. It someone’s body. But it’s not everyone’s.

Listen: Mia Freedman interviews one of Australia’s best female swimmers, Leisel Jones. Post continues after audio.

So, in a realm where mainstream media tends to glorify variations of one overriding, idealised body type that only represents a minority of the female population, watching a swathe of strong, athletic female physiques during the Olympics is transfixing.

These incredible bodies aren’t usually featured and celebrated in such a mainstream context. Bodies that aren’t crafted for us to look at, but are the result of unwavering focus, determination and commitment to one specific goal.

It’s breathtaking to watch these women achieve such inspiring feats of athleticism, with amazing bodies of all shapes and sizes.

Serena Williams

We all know Serena is one of the greatest female athletes of all time. Her body can do some amazing things.

Melissa Wu

At only 24, Wu has represented Australia in three different Olympics,  winning silver in Beijing in 2008 and becoming the youngest Australian ever in history to win an Olympic medal in diving.

A photo posted by Melissa Wu (@melissapaigewu) on


Larissa França

França is a 34-year-old Brazilian beach volley-ball player and is the all-time leader of beach volleyball titles.

Image via Getty.

Our women's 4 x 100m freestyle relay team

They won gold on the first weekend of the Olympics and smashed the world record. 

Image via Getty.

Ellia Green

Ellia Green is playing for our Rugby Sevens team in Rio. She was once a talented sprinter in track and field and only took to rugby sevens four years ago.


Charlotte Caslick

Speaking of the Rugby Sevens, how about Charlotte Caslick? Caslick was part of the history-making Australian Sevens team to win a world championship in rugby sevens.


Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

In 2008, Fraser-Pryce became the first Caribbean woman to win 100m gold at the Olympics. She then backed that up in 2012 in London. All eyes will now be on here in Rio to see if she can make it three in a row.

Image via Getty.

Larrissa Miller

Miller is competing at her second Olympics for Australia, and although last night a fall all-but ended her Olympic campaign we still thought we'd leave this one here.


Australian Stingers

A bout of gastro struck down some of our best Australian water polo players last week, but we hope it won't stop them when they face off against Russia tomorrow.

Majlinda Kelmendi

Kelmendi (pictured below, left) is a two-time World Judo Champion and on Sunday made history for becoming the first athlete from Kosovo to win an Olympic medal, let alone a gold model.

Tia-Clair Toomey

She was crowned the “second fittest woman in the world” at the World CrossFit Games in 2015 and 2016, and now 23-year-old Australian weight-lifter Tia-Clair Toomey will try her luck at the Rio Olympics.


A photo posted by Tia-Clair Toomey (@tiaclair1) on

Madonna Blyth

The Rio Olympics will be Madonna Blyth's third Olympic campaign for the Hockeyroos who she has captained since 2009.

Liz Cambage

A well-known face in Australian sport, Cambage plays with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in the Chinese Women's Basketball League and the Australian Opals.