Lynne Cox


Lynne Cox is an American competitive open-water long distance swimmer. She was the first person to swim successfully from the USA to the Soviet Union across the Bering Straight, as well as setting numerous records during her career.

The black and white photo above was taken when she was about 14 and in her peak competitive shape. This is not some photo of her years post retirement.

We’re often told that larger bodies cannot possibly embody fitness (or the bullshit buzzword “health”) which is a lie. There is an entire industry that profits from telling women that their bodies are “wrong” if they deviate from the “tiny and silent” motif our culture idolizes. They preach that our natural shapes and weights can be cajoled and controlled into the one they’ve arbitrarily defined as “best”. It’s not true and it often keeps us from living fully. Putting off our goals for some later date when we are “worthy” or simply silencing us into shame-filled consumers.

Lynne Cox is a reminder of the truth. That there is no one right body type to be fit (not that you owe anyone “fitness”, more that you just can’t tell how fit someone is from their shape). Just watch the opening ceremonies of any Olympics to see the array of shapes and weights and bodies that are all honed for sport! Lynne’s body isn’t the result of “laziness” or a lack of self control, you have to have an incredible will to do the things she has.

I thought it was important to share her photos today (Lynne if you see this and want to chime in please do!). Her body type is not one we immediately associate with fitness and competitive sports (mostly because they can’t sell us stuff to “fix” ourselves if they show us variation). Her body type isn’t “wrong” or something to be corrected and silenced. And neither is yours. Even if you aren’t a competitive cold water swimmer. Even if the most active thing you do today is check your phone. Still not “wrong”. Still not a “problem”.

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