A Spin Around the Gab Galaxy

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, October 1995

A Spin Around the Gab Galaxy
By Sara Corbett

"America loves a female athlete with a big personality," says Kathy Dasilva, a producer of MTV Sports. "Someone who's a force field unto herself, who's all-around big." Of course, the standard is Gabrielle Reece, who's parlayed her broad muscles and irreverence into a future that's...well, enormous. Still, phenom that she is, Reece is not without peers. In fact, in a galaxy spun by sports-marketing dollars, a multitude of female athletes have also charted career courses on the merits of being, in one way or another, big. From those whose own smiles and bodies have landed them on magazine covers to the women who earn their keep on the extreme edges of athletics, these competitors represent a brave new world of feminine mystique. Mess with them, and they'll kick your ass.


Andrea Spitzer, 27, world-champion quadrathlete. At 5-foot-11, a robust German version of Kate Moss who's graced magazine covers and fashion runways around the world.
Be-Like-Gab Factor: Never mind the obscurity of her sport, nothing beats a Teutonic beauty.
Stumbling Block: Limited fluency in English prevents Gablike outspokenness.

Minor Players:
Suzy Hamilton,
27, Olympic middle-distance runner. Bouncy-haired star of Pert Shampoo ads, has surfaced in the pages of Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar.

Dara Torres-Gowen, 28, four-time Olympic-medalist swimmer. In 1994, became the first Olympic-caliber athlete to appear in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Hosts an extreme-sports segment on the Discovery Channel show The Next Step. THE EMPIRE-BUILDER

Cory Everson, 35, six-time Ms. Olympia bodybuilding champion turned Hollywood fitness queen. Creator of workout video series Get Hard and author of three fitness books, plays Atalanta on Fox's Hercules and hosts ESPN 2's Gotta Sweat with Cory Everson.
Be-Like-Gab Factor: Unabashed confidence makes self-promoting easy.
Stumbling Block: Would rather be Schwarzenegger.

THE EXTREMISTS Sarah Odell, 28, multisport athlete. Swapped lucrative modeling career for adrenaline-infused "extreme" events, including the notorious Raid Gauloises. Has authored fitness pieces for magazines such as Elle and Shape.
Be-Like-Gab Factor: Finds athletics more alluring than modeling. "People want to talk to me now that I do jungle sports."
Stumbling Block: Looks down on beach-blanket athletics. "A multisport event is no volleyball match. It's very intense."

Minor Players:
Ace Mackay-Smith,
29, extreme skier, cinematographer, go-go dancer.
Lisa Anderson, 26, 1994 world-champion surfer, mother of two-year-old.


Nnenna Lynch, 24, middle-distance runner and Rhodes scholar. Eight-time NCAA All-American as Villanova undergraduate, now trains for 1996 Olympics by day and buries nose in anthropology texts by night.

Be-Like-Gab Factor: Named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1994.
Stumbling Block: Too smart? Minor Player:
Meredith Rainey,
28, 800-meter runner. Harvard graduate, will finish MBA after Atlanta games.


Summer Sanders, 22, swimmer. Pressure as four-time medalist at Barcelona Olympics caused her to flee the pool to pursue television career as all-American girl host for MTV's bikini-and-pec-filled show Sandblast; now out of retirement and reckoned to be the comeback kid in Atlanta.
Be-Like-Gab Factor: Positive body image. "People are looking at Twiggy-skinny women and realizing that they can't look like that. Instead, they're finding healthy-looking role models, like me."
Stumbling Block: Her swimming's good enough to outshine her media career.

Minor Players:
Sharon Monplaisir,
34, three-time Olympic fencer.
Manon Rheaume, 23, maverick hockey goalie, first woman to sign professional contract in ice hockey. Recently sold life story to Barbra Streisand's production company.
Uta Pippig, 30, winner of Boston and New York City marathons, medical student. IN HER OWN ORBIT

Missy Giove, 23, 1994 world-champion mountain biker cum outspoken bad girl. Providing many a salty quote, she's been picked up by the likes of NPR, the Village Voice, and Conan O'Brien.
Be-Like-Gab Factor: Sass.
Stumbling Block: Strange hair, nose ring, dead piranha necklace.

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