Shot put 'Diva' Carter puts on girly, golden show in Rio

Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:28am EDT
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By Drazen Jorgic

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - With crimson lipstick, eye-liner, mascara and a beaming smile, Michelle Carter on Friday won a stunning Olympic shot put gold to sprinkle a little glitz on an event often cruelly ridiculed for the shape of its women athletes.

Holding her nerve, the self-proclaimed "Diva" etched her name in the history books with a last-gasp throw at Rio. Now the bubbly, fashion-conscious American wants to change the perception of her event and the strong women who compete in it.

"I'm in a sport where people don't look at us like women, they don't look at us like being girls, or feminine," Carter said. "But I've been girly all my life and so I couldn't separate... between the sport and being a woman.

"I love hair, I love make up, I love fashion and I love throwing the shot put."

Female shot putters have struggled to shake off a brutish image from the sport's dark days in the 1970s and 1980s when some East German competitors were pumped with steroids, leaving them with masculine characteristics.

As the sport has become more technical in recent decades, the women slimmed in size but still remain larger than other track and field athletes and the snide remarks and stereotypes persist.

On social media and in person, 30-year-old Carter has often spoken out against body shaming and called for larger women to embrace their appearance, or as she puts it, "just have fun".

"One of my sayings is: look good, feel good, do good," she said. "If you are feeling good, you look good, you are confident about yourself, you are going to go out there and you will rock it."   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Women's Shot Put Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 12/08/2016.  Michelle Carter (USA) of USA celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's shot put. REUTERS/Phil Noble