Eight athletes share their fabulous flaws

Even the best athletes have body issues. The trick is learning how to use those little imperfections to lift -- not limit -- your performance, just like these pros.

• "My rib cage sticks out farther than my chest, which can make me slightly self-conscious in a skimpy bikini. But it is the product of a large lung capacity, and it's one of the reasons I have a VO2Max of 84." -- Olympic marathoner Deena Kastor

• "Being as tall as I am (5-foot-11) at 16 years old, I tower over all of my friends, especially the guys -- it's a bit awkward. But my height, long legs and long arms actually help give me more arch in my swing, which gives me more power and leverage to hit the ball farther." -- professional golfer Lexi Thompson

• "I always hated my skiers' legs and booty, but in 38 years of skiing, I've managed to not blow my knees out yet—I guess these "tree trunks" have served me well after all." -- Alaskan ski guide Lel Tone

• "I have an extra four inches in my wing span (compared to my height) that helps me with long-reaching moves when rock climbing. While having long arms is not so great for finding long-sleeve shirts that fit well, it is advantageous for climbing! I'm 5-foot-2, but have taught myself how to climb to use the same sequence as a person who is 5-foot-6." -- competitive climber Abbey Smith

• "Wearing dresses or tank tops always draws attention to my arms, and I am very self-conscious, because I feel like a boy in anything sleeveless or strapless. But we had a saying in high school track: 'When all else fails, use your arms.' And it's true. When lactic acid builds up in my legs and I feel like I can't go anymore, I just have to keep my strong arms moving to help me reach the finish line." -- Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams

• "I have unusually large feet for my height (size 10 for a petite 5-foot-4), but recently I've started competing in the steeplechase, and my big feet provide longer levers to propel myself off of the water jump!" -- professional runner Sara Hall

• "Sadly, I think being naturally muscular can be a blessing and a curse for female athletes. It's hard to be feminine and still compete at the highest levels. In fact, looking back, I realize that to beat the boys, I felt like I had to become one. When I was 15, I was training so hard that even my neck looked like that of a football player. Luckily, now I'm finding the power in my femininity, and it's opened up a whole new perspective on skiing." -- competitive freeskier and Big Mountain skier Lynsey Dyer

• "I am freakishly tall for running (6 feet), however, I've taken advantage of my height and use my long legs to cover more ground in less time. I also have a longer stride, which means I take less overall steps in a race, translating into less pounding on my body—that's huge in an ultra!" -- professional ultra-endurance athlete Devon Crosby-Helms

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