“All we actually have is our body and its muscles that allow us to be under our own power,” wrote Allegra Kent in her 1997 autobiography, “Once A Dancer.”
No one understands the meaning of these words more than athletes do -- the women who use their bodies to power their livelihoods. Title IX, the legislation that made it illegal for women to be denied participation in sports on the basis of gender, turned 40 on June 23rd and the London Olympics begin next month. There’s no better time than the present to celebrate these women and all of the incredible things that their bodies allow them to do.
We dare you not to appreciate the female body more after looking at these 21 photos -- even those bodies that don't belong to professional athletes.
LOOK: 21 Amazing Photos Of Female Athletes