Female Athletes Advocate for Body Love in ESPN's New 'Body Issue'

2015 may just be the year for female athletes — and it's about time.  

Whether it's Misty Copeland's new and legendary ballerina status, Serena Williams' groundbreaking tennis accomplishments, or even as recent as this year's FIFA Women's World Cup, women athletes are fearlessly defying norms and shattering records in the sports world.

This year's ESPN 'Body Issue' is nothing short of a celebration of this much delayed recognition as the issue features an impressive roster of fit female athletes posed nude in an inspiring and artful set of photographs.  

Additionally, alongside the photos include snippets of interviews with the athletes on topics of self-acceptance and beauty standards. In short, we are in awe of their powerful physiques and equally commanding words that grace the pages of the feature. We'll be sure to grab a copy off the stands this Friday. 

See here for more excerpts from the interview and photoshoot.

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"I don't look in the mirror and think 'slim'; I look in the mirror and I'm like, 'Whoa, beast!'" —Chantae McMilian, Olympic heptathlete

"I lift four times a week. I can bench 70-pound dumbbells in each hand. I love that sensation of feeling so strong and powerful." —Natalie Coughlin, Olympic swimmer

"I'll be honest, I like everything about my body." —Amanda Bingson, USA Track & Field hammer thrower

"I have a butt that is larger than I want it to be. I know it gives me power in my swing, but everybody is like 'You've got a nice butt!'" —Sadena Parks, LPGA-golfer

"I use my body every day for my job. We constantly put our bodies through pain. I'm not afraid to show that off." —Paige Selenski, field hockey player 

"I think imperfection is beauty. Instead of being insecure about my muscles, I've learned to love them." —Aly Raisman, Olympic gymnast