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SHAPE Shares: 5 Female Fitness Icons We Love


Are you celebrating International Women's Day this Friday? We're a little early, but we couldn't resist! There are so many inspirational women who have changed the face of sports or athletics that it was hard to round up our five favorite fitness icons. Read our list and then tell us in the comments: Who's your favorite fitness icon and why?

1. Jane Fonda. Love her or hate her, Fonda launched the start of the at-home video fitness industry, all while rocking those awesome '80s leg warmers. We love Fonda's confidence, though she admits it took her a long time to feel comfortable in her own skin. "I have spent time in therapy, written books that have helped me heal—as well as helped others," she told Express UK. "For me, healing meant understanding that 'good enough' is good enough. We don't have to be perfect."

2. Lisa Leslie. Three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, four-time Olympian, mom, and wife Leslie hit 6-feet tall in the sixth grade and endured her fair share of "How's the weather up there?" jokes. Instead of letting it get her down, she became a world-renowned basketball player and pushed herself to develop a healthy self-esteem. Talk about baller! Now she works to inspire young girls to develop one themselves. Check out her top tips for boosting self-esteem.

RELATED: Meet the eight ladies who made our most recent list of women who shape the world.

3. Katherine Switzer. Although not the first woman to run an official marathon, Switzer was the first official female participant to run the Boston Marathon in its entirety. Registered under the name "K.V. Switzer," she was two miles in before race officials realized that K.V. was a 20-year-old woman.

4. Mia Hamm. As the player who put women's soccer on the map, how could we not include her? Widely regarded as the best female soccer player in the world, she's scored more than 151 goals and led her team to both Olympic and World Cup victory. Although she retired in 2004, she's still active as both a pioneer for gender equality in sports and with her own foundation, which encourages people to become educated about bone marrow donation.

5. Billie Jean King. Not only did King start a women's sports magazine and a women's sports foundation, she also spearheaded the creation of the Women's Tennis Association and started World Team Tennis, a professional and amateur co-ed tennis league. But she's perhaps most well-known for beating self-proclaimed "male chauvinist pig" and tennis champion Bobby Riggs in 1973 in a match that ended with what the London Sunday Times called "the drop shot and volley heard 'round the world."


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