We had the opportunity to catch up with Olympic Hammer Thrower Amanda Bingson on her experience with being part of the ESPN Body Issue. Find out what attracted her to the sport, the funniest thing from the shoot, and some great images and video that show what it was like behind the scenes.
AthleteBiz: Just about anyone, woman or man, that sees your photos thinks to themselves “Could I pose for a photo shoot and put myself out there like that?!?”. Where do you think your courage or self-confidence or inhibition comes from?
I think I definitely get it from my parents, friends, and family. I grew up being very active in sports, and I was always good at them. So I was always reminded of positive things about myself rather than focusing on what is on TV or in magazines, because I was too busy being active and enjoying my life.
AthleteBiz: Your public comments about the body image challenges you have encountered and overcome have been inspiring and have helped spark an important national conversation. Do you have any tips for young girls or for parents of daughters?
I think the only thing I could tell people in general (not just young girls) is look for what fits you. We talk about finding a job, school, car that fits you and your needs, so why can’t we do the same with ourselves? There is more out there than what we see on our screens. There is more than just the social media world out there and we should all go find what fits us. I was fortunate to find the athletic world when I was younger and tried to mold myself into fitting volleyball, but then I found throwing and it was just right for me.
AthleteBiz: One of the unique features of the sport of Track & Field is the very real opportunity for excellence it provides to a wide variety of body types. What attracted you to our sport?
I think what attracted me initially was the fact that it was individualized. I had always been on sports teams and although I loved it, I hated knowing that I could have the best game of life and still lose because of another person. In track and field, you have to be accountable for everything you do; there is no hiding behind a team.
AthleteBiz: You’ve been thrust into a whirlwind of media and public attention. Did you feel prepared for it? Has it been an empowering experience?
Hell no I wasn’t prepared. On track and field there is little interest in the professional ring, so media training is not conducted for incoming rookies like that of football, baseball, or basketball players. Right now I’m just doing what I can and trying to keep my head on straight while we train for World’s in August.
AthleteBiz: Any reactions from friends, family or fellow athletes that have been particularly surprising or important to you?
Not really surprising. As I said, I surround myself with people who I relate to and fit in with. So everyone has been acting exactly the same as they did before the shoot or all this social attention.
AthleteBiz: Any funny or memorable “behind the scenes” experiences from the photo shoot or media interviews you can share?
I think the funniest thing from the shoot was after we were done I made everyone try to throw the hammer at least once. Its always fun to watch someone who has never seen the event do it.