What’s magnificence? Latina athletes focus on struggles and expectations

To have a good time Hispanic Heritage Month, ESPN not too long ago gathered 5 Latina athletes at a New York Metropolis magnificence salon to debate requirements of magnificence inside the world of sports activities.

The athletes who convened with ESPN’s all-female group to share their tales consisted of Olympic boxer Marlen Esparza, UFC bantamweight Joselyne Edwards, Rio 2016 tennis gold medalist Monica Puig, Paralympic sitting volleyball gold medalist Nicky Nieves, and NCAA champion gymnast Luisa Blanco. They shared their expertise in an effort to redefine expectations, and in doing so demonstrated the wonder and energy that outline every one.

“I liked having real conversations and exchanging experiences,” Puig mentioned. “Every one in all us has one thing great inside us, and it was unimaginable to share it.”

In creating an area for these conversations — these involving the connection between Latina athletes, the definition of magnificence and the affect on their respective careers — ESPN relied solely on girls at every storytelling stage, together with planning, manufacturing, images, make-up, moderating (this story’s creator), modifying, and the whole lot in between.



Paralympic sitting volleyball gold medalist Nicky Nieves discusses discovering her place culturally as an Afro-Latina athlete.

What’s magnificence?

This was the primary query, the one which sparked the thought behind the venture in addition to dialogue among the many panel. Clearly, the reply is not a easy one. Somewhat, it entails varied components and is exclusive to every participant.

“I outline magnificence, that of a Latina, because the fighter that every one in all us is,” mentioned Edwards, who’s from Panama. “What we do each day that drives us to perform our objectives.”

Edwards, who’s from Panama, additionally touched on the significance of individuality find magnificence and remembered how she found her personal identification by bucking conference on hairstyles.

“I went out and acquired a brief haircut, and I did not even need to look within the mirror as a result of I’d say ‘How am I going to look?'” she mentioned. “And once I opened my eyes, I mentioned ‘Wow, how cool.’ I selected the fantastic thing about being Black, with the hair and tradition that goes with it. And as time handed, I might see totally different kinds and suppose, ‘That is cool, it is lovely. I can do what I would like with my hair.’ You be taught to dwell inside your personal tradition and be who you’re.”

Per Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the phrase, magnificence is “the standard or combination of qualities in an individual or factor that provides pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the thoughts or spirit.” Nonetheless, the subject stretches past that description when offered to our panel, which touched on the stereotypes which have formed the idea of female magnificence specifically.

As in the event that they did not have sufficient on their plates with the willpower, sacrifice and dedication required to succeed, there are different components hovering over top-level feminine athletes which are hardly ever mentioned. Chief amongst them are the expectations of magnificence relating to physique kind, weight, hairstyles and outfits. That is on high of challenges concerned in succeeding as a Latina athlete within the U.S., which may carry features of roots, look and language.

“We’re Latinas, we glance totally different, however as athletes we’re one. We’ve got to push one another and love one another in order that we are able to continue to grow and succeeding,” mentioned Nieves, who as an Afro-Latina described the twin problem of discovering her place inside two cultures.

Puig mentioned when she was teenager, a sponsor requested that she drop pounds and clear her face of zits. Blanco was instructed that her physique “wasn’t made for gymnastics” due to her wider hips.

“What I discovered from this expertise is that, although I am in a sport the place I really feel I am alone, the truth is there are different girls who’re additionally going by means of it,” Blanco mentioned. “It gave me assurance assembly different Latinas who’re going by means of the identical battle and have comparable tales.”

As for motherhood, the panel mentioned how — regardless of progress and elevated assist from groups, leagues and federations — there’s nonetheless a lot work forward to create excellent circumstances for feminine athletes who select to have youngsters.

“I misplaced a struggle 9 months after I gave beginning, and folks nonetheless blamed the truth that I used to be a mother and never the massive gash that my opponent left on my head,” Esparza mentioned.

The panel got here collectively having not met earlier than however walked away with a typical bond, understanding they aren’t alone. By opening up, they’ve carried the torch inside their respective sports activities because the faces of the brand new technology of girls athletes.

“It was such an academic dialog. I used to be listening the entire time as a result of these girls have been distinctive, Latinas from totally different nationalities, backgrounds and sports activities,” mentioned Esparza, a bronze medalist at Tokyo 2012, after the dialogue. “For me it was very inspirational, as a result of as an athlete typically it may be troublesome to remain motivated once you really feel that you are the just one who has struggles or doubts in your thoughts.”