THE BODY ISSUE: JULIE CHU

Why pose for the Body Issue?JC: After seeing past issues, I was amazed at what ESPN The Magazine was doing. It’s not only the lean and ripped bodies on display, but also a variety of shapes and sizes in a range of sports. Showing the different shapes and sizes of success.
Have you ever felt self-conscious?JC: I was 5-foot-8 and about 128 pounds in the sixth grade. I was a giant. Looking back at old soccer videos from second grade, I think, “Who is that next to those little kids?!” I was fortunate, though, because I was naïve and oblivious about my size. It’s a testament to the people I had around me — my parents and friends who didn’t treat me differently or make me feel awkward about being so tall. And the sports world gave me the confidence and self-awareness to be proud of what I look like. So I’ve always felt pretty good about my body.
How did you find your way to the sport?JC: In a way, hockey found me. My sister and I signed up for figure skating at age 8, but I wasn’t the most graceful person in the house and couldn’t do any of the moves. I’d see the hockey boys on the other side of the rink playing, and I remember wanting that camaraderie, wanting to be part of something more dynamic and fun. It only took me two months to ditch figure skating and switch to hockey. I like the competitiveness of it. The game is very fast; its two-way action keeps you on your toes, always engaged.
What was it like playing against the boys?It was a benefit. We started playing hockey, with checking, at 11 or 12 years old. I was the only girl on the team, but keep in mind, I wasn’t a peanut of a girl. Occasionally some of it got nasty toward me because I was a girl, but it didn’t bother me. I can hold my ground. It actually made me feel better that they were coming hard rather than treating me like I was fragile. For me it was, “Look, I’m here, and I want to compete. Try to knock me down because I assure you, once I get up, I’ll be looking to knock you down.”
How do hockey players compare to athletes from other sports?JC: If you look at hockey players as a whole, we have a wide variety of body types that all work for performance. I’m more of a power and lean player, not particularly muscular. We all rely a lot on our core. Rotating and balance is a huge part of our game. So, I’m proud of my abs. I don’t often get to show them off, but I’m not shy, I’ll wear a bikini at the pool.

THE BODY ISSUE: JULIE CHU

Why pose for the Body Issue?
JC: After seeing past issues, I was amazed at what ESPN The Magazine was doing. It’s not only the lean and ripped bodies on display, but also a variety of shapes and sizes in a range of sports. Showing the different shapes and sizes of success.

Have you ever felt self-conscious?
JC: I was 5-foot-8 and about 128 pounds in the sixth grade. I was a giant. Looking back at old soccer videos from second grade, I think, “Who is that next to those little kids?!” I was fortunate, though, because I was naïve and oblivious about my size. It’s a testament to the people I had around me — my parents and friends who didn’t treat me differently or make me feel awkward about being so tall. And the sports world gave me the confidence and self-awareness to be proud of what I look like. So I’ve always felt pretty good about my body.

How did you find your way to the sport?
JC: In a way, hockey found me. My sister and I signed up for figure skating at age 8, but I wasn’t the most graceful person in the house and couldn’t do any of the moves. I’d see the hockey boys on the other side of the rink playing, and I remember wanting that camaraderie, wanting to be part of something more dynamic and fun. It only took me two months to ditch figure skating and switch to hockey. I like the competitiveness of it. The game is very fast; its two-way action keeps you on your toes, always engaged.

What was it like playing against the boys?
It was a benefit. We started playing hockey, with checking, at 11 or 12 years old. I was the only girl on the team, but keep in mind, I wasn’t a peanut of a girl. Occasionally some of it got nasty toward me because I was a girl, but it didn’t bother me. I can hold my ground. It actually made me feel better that they were coming hard rather than treating me like I was fragile. For me it was, “Look, I’m here, and I want to compete. Try to knock me down because I assure you, once I get up, I’ll be looking to knock you down.”

How do hockey players compare to athletes from other sports?
JC: If you look at hockey players as a whole, we have a wide variety of body types that all work for performance. I’m more of a power and lean player, not particularly muscular. We all rely a lot on our core. Rotating and balance is a huge part of our game. So, I’m proud of my abs. I don’t often get to show them off, but I’m not shy, I’ll wear a bikini at the pool.

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    I gotta say that I also have a crush on Team USA’s Julie Chu because I know that she may have gotten a silver medal...
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