This is a bit off the topic of endurance sports and difficult to read, but last year, the head of the Russian Tennis Federation - Shamil Tarpischev, said that he thought that Serena Williams and her brother were scary and tough to look at. For those of you who don’t follow tennis, he was referring to her sister – Venus.

It’s hard to describe the absolute mind splitting rage that that comment caused in us, but suffices to say, that our opinion of Mr. Tarpischev is unmeasurably low.

Now, that Serena is (hopefully) on the verge of adding a calendar year Grand Slam to her hall of fame tennis career, we think it makes sense to reaffirm our position on attractiveness as we see it.

We touched on this in a recent blog about the “athlete model”, but to be clear, we find few things more beautiful than a body sculpted for a specific purpose. UFC Fighter Rhonda Rousey summed it up when she said "There's not a single muscle on my body that isn't for a purpose."

To each his own, but the weak, starved, thin look so common in the fashion magazines isn’t our thing. It’s not that thin, in and of itself, is unattractive, it’s being thin for the sake of…well…being thin that doesn’t work for us. If there’s a purpose behind the build, we’re all for it! Trust me, we’ve done the math on the number of seconds gained per mile on the run as you reduce fat.

We also know that beauty can take many different forms. In the women who are gifted on the bike, it manifests itself in the form of sculpted quads paired with a strong, lean upper body.

Woman training on bike

Since triathlon combines three modes of forward propulsion, the champions can have different builds. Perhaps, like Rinny, the are built for the hunt on the run, or possibly, they are long and lean, making use of their reach in the water. Distance runners can tend toward a more sinewy physique, and if you want to see beautiful broad shoulders, check out the first lane at your masters swim class.

Lisa Holt Running

It doesn’t matter. All of these women have crafted their bodies for a specific purpose and, to us, they are all works of art.

Which takes us back to Serena. If you get a chance over the next couple of days, try to watch her play. Thanks to the thousands of hours she has spent on the court and in the gym, she has crafted a body that is perfectly designed to move about the court and deliver strokes of breathtaking velocity and precision. Rather than being hard to look at, we can't take our eyes off of her. She is power and purpose personified and we think she is absolutely beautiful.

Tennis player

photo credit: pdrocha /

Reginald Holden