Last week Simone Biles, the pint-sized member of the Fierce Five U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team, posted a photo on Twitter showing off the jaw-dropping height difference between her own 4-foot-8 frame and the towering 6-foot-eight stature of fellow Olympian, volleyball player David Lee, much to the delight of the Internet.
size difference in olympians doesn't matter, depending on what sport you do 6'8" & 4'8" pic.twitter.com/xiU9zIBXJH
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) August 2, 2016
The photo is funny, but Biles makes a much bigger point: there's no such thing as a universal "athletic" body type. (In case you were wondering, The "Yoga Body" Type Stereotype Is Also BS.) As you watch the world's greatest athletes in Rio compete for a spot on the podium, flipping from beach volleyball to track, back to gymnastics, and then swimming, you'll quickly realize there's just no way to compare one athlete's body to another. To drive this point home, athletic company Rowing Reviews analyzed the heights, weights, and BMIs of more than 10,000 Olympians to see how they stack up against each other.
As you may have guessed from Biles' small, muscular frame, gymnasts tend to be among the shortest and lightest athletes—the average gymnasts weighs around 117 pounds and stands 5 feet 4 inches. On the other end of the spectrum, female shot put athletes, who have an average BMI of 30.6 (This technically actually qualifies them as "obese") clock in at 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 214 pounds. The U.S. Women's Diving Team meanwhile is 5 feet 3 inches and 117 pounds, on average. The badass beach volleyball players you can watch on Copacabana Beach are around 6 feet tall and 154 pounds. In other words, there's no such thing as "normal" when it comes to super-fit bods.
For us mere non-Olympic mortals, it's helpful to remember that there's no ideal body type, in or out of the sports world. No matter what your shape, we want you to get in the game.