Shot put isn't exactly a headlining sport at the Olympics, but one of the sport's biggest stars might turn me into a fan. On Friday Michelle Carter took the gold in shot put, making her the first U.S. woman in the Games' history to take home the top prize for Team USA. And though I'm certainly willing to give her props for being able to hurl a heavy sphere 20.63 meters, she's also just a general badass.
Carter upset New Zealand's Valerie Adams, ending her three-time gold medal run. Adams managed an impressive 20.42 meters, before Adams summoned the last of her energy to best her by 0.21 meters after her initial attempts ranged in the 19-meter range. NPR reported that Carter had measured her strength to pull out the win. She told reporters: "I knew I had more in the tank. And to be able to go out there and put the pieces together and pull it out, I'm just really excited."
Being the first U.S. woman to win gold in the shot put is prominent enough, but it seems like Carter is intent on making shot putting chic. Carter, who won the event wearing the bright red lipsticks, calls herself the "shot diva" (she owns shotdiva.com, a name she has also given to her Twitter handle).
When she's not hurling weighty objects impressive distances, Carter works as a makeup artist. Yup, you can book an Olympian for makeup lessons, special events makeup, and wedding packages. Carter also sells a line of Shot Diva T-shirts.
And she's not afraid to embrace her femininity while she competes. After struggling to balance her identity as a certified makeup artists and an athlete, Carter finally decided that the two don't have to be separate. "Should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that," she told the New Yorker. "And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards. I believe if you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, you’re going to do your best."
There is also a You Throw Girl camp in the works, according to her site. The sports confidence camp will apparently be aimed at encouraging women and girls to get into sports. As the New Yorker noted, Carter has also posed for ESPN's Body Issue and posts pictures of her athletic build on Instagram. She told the New Yorker that she got the idea from parents of aspiring athletes: "The parents say, ‘Can you talk to my daughter and say that it’s O.K.? That she can have muscles?’ They’ll say, ‘I show her pictures of you so they can know she’s good at what she does but still looks like a girl. She wears dresses.’ It releases people to be whoever they want to be in the sport."
You throw, girl, indeed.