The sweat, the tears, the glory, and the gold—yes, the Olympics have come and gone. Hundreds of incredible athletes all competed to honor themselves and their country, while giving us viewers some incredible inspiration! Team USA has some of the best athletes in the games on their side, and some incredible petite female athletes to boot. Free to subscribe to Bella Petite!
The Acrobat: Gabby Douglas
4’11’’ Gabby Douglas is a petite powerhouse! Her strength is the uneven bars, but she also showed her gymnastics prowess, by winning gold in the all-around competition. Douglas first got into gymnastics after her sister, Arielle Hawkins, convinced their mom to enroll her sister in classes. “She was just super flexible from Day One,” Hawkins told USA Today.
But don’t think Douglas’s time in London was all work. and no play. She told USA Today that she planned on making those infamous Buckingham Palace guards crack a smile. “I have a feeling that I will,” she joked.
The entire team of “Fab Five” gymnasts are inspiring petite women!
The Horse Whisperer: Reed Kessler
18-year-old Reed Kessler first got her start in the equestrian world when she was just six months old, sitting in a basket during a horse ride with her parents, she tells NBC Sports. Things have changed since then, as she’s now sitting on top of the horse and is one of the best (and youngest) show jumpers in Team USA’s history.
The 5’5’’ Kessler rode her horse Cylana in London, and, although she is an inexperienced horse, Kessler believed in her ability. While she failed to medal at the Olympics, Kessler is proud of her performance. Telling the Courier-Journal, “For the team I wish I could’ve turned out a double-clean round. But for an 18-year-old at her first major championship, I’m pretty happy with how it went.” As for Cylana? Kessler couldn’t praise her performance enough, adding to the Journal that, “I think that she is a real championship horse. She’s amazing.
The Muscle: Clarissa Meiling Chun
Chun redefines the term petite powerhouse! After competing in Beijing, and narrowly missing a medal, this wrestler is ready to take some Olympic bling back to the Aloha State. The petite female wrestler 4’11’’ Chun grew up in Hawaii playing all kinds of sports, from surfing to bowling and, of course, wrestling. She carries her laidback Hawaiian roots with her, listening to reggae music when she’s feeling wound up, according to NBC Sports.
Don’t mistake her calm demeanor for an easy opponent. Chun told Zimbio, “I am going to make them wrestle me. I am a threat.” If she won in London, she continued, “I will cry…I would thank so many people. I would get to be on Ellen.” And after winning bronze in the freestyle competition, her dream might just come true.
The Bullet: Bianca Knight
London was Knight’s first Olympic appearance, but this seasoned veteran in the 4x100m relay certainly had a few notches of experience under her belt going in. She holds the record of the second fastest time by an American in the 200m, clocking in at a staggering 22.40 seconds, reports NBC Sports. Pretty good for a girl who, according to her personal website, didn’t know what the lanes were for during her first track practice at age 12.
All that hard work came to pay off, with Knight and her teammates winning gold in the 4x100m relay and setting a new world record.
The Sea Star: Amanda Clark
Amanda Clark didn’t have the childhood most kids remember. In an interview with the New York Post, she recalls digging for scallops with her dad and grandfather and learning to sail a boat along the waters of her Shelter Island, New York, home. Most kids don’t also grow up to be two-time Olympians either, so the 5’3’’ Clark is definitely not leading a stereotypical life.
To prepare for the Olympics, Clark had been working out with Navy SEALs in the early morning in near 40-degree water. Even though it’s difficult, she knows that it’s all worth it. She told The Suffolk Times that being a successful athlete and Olympian is all about “commitment, self-discipline, and really enjoying what you do.” Clark didn’t medal in London, but she sure enjoyed the experience. She explained to Metropolis that being able to walk in the opening ceremony was “so special.” Free to subscribe to Bella Petite!
Not only are these athletes incredibly inspiring, but they also go to show that when it comes to sports, stature is never an obstacle. Great support, a little bit of luck, and a lot of raw talent will get you there. Congratulations to all the athletes who participated in the Olympics!
Collaborating Writers: Clarissa Burt with Ellen Kuni
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