The thigh gap is a trend in which the space between the legs of women has become a feature of attractiveness. The trend started in 2013, brought about by ultra thin Victoria Secret models. I'm not here to argue whether or not the thigh gap is a good thing or not or if it's a legitimate phenomenon. For many, the thigh gap is real and perceived as the ideal body type which many women are now trying to emulate. Incidentally, athletes that are showing off their thigh gaps are helping to link beauty with the thigh gap fad.
While the thigh gap can look attractive on certain women, usually fitness models or athletes, there are many thigh gaps that look unhealthy, resulting from eating disorders due to the unrealistic images seen in magazines, television and the internet. When thigh gaps are caused unnaturally though terrible eating disorders, the result is normally unattractive and worrisome from a health standpoint. Yet, there are athletes with thigh gaps that are very much healthy resulting from good nutrition and exercise that should be used as a model for ideal fitness and fashion statements. Even many on the anti thigh gap side can't deny that there are some athletes with a rare perfect thigh gap, although the word "perfect" is subjective. Some athletes are totally rocking the thigh gap while others are not so much, leading to questions about their health. This list shows that a thigh gap can look great, but that it's not for everyone. Here are 7 athletes where the thigh gap is nigh perfect and 8 athletes where it appears unnatural.
15 (Want To) Aly Raisman
Aly Raisman is the second most decorated American gymnast of all time, behind Shannon Miller. She has captured gold in team's artistic all-around and floor competitions and a bronze on the balance beam during the 2012 Olympics. During the 2016 Olympics, Raisman has won a gold medal in the team artistic all-around and won silvers in individual artistic all-around and team all-around. This doesn't include her ridiculous amount of World, Pacific Rim or National Championship.
As an Olympic gymnast, she's required to have amazing upper and lower body strength and Aly Raisman fits the profile. Granted she has a body of an Olympic athlete, an unrealistic expectation for most people, she's the poster child for the perfect thigh gap. That shouldn't be surprising since she has accomplished more than most American athletes. Raisman is without question healthy, in shape and rocking a strong pair of legs.
14 (Not) Paige Spiranac
Paige Spiranac is a professional LGPA golfer who has taken the world of golf by storm. Her determination and dedication to the sport is second to none, qualifying for the Junior PGA Championship, the junior's American Cup and Colorado Junior All-Star teams. She earned a victory in the Colorado State match play tournament making a career in professional golf assured. Although her professional career hasn't started off the way she would have liked, with setbacks and poor performances, at age 24, her career is just getting started.
Paige Spiranac has gained most of her media attention for her strikingly amazing looks. Her looks were so distracting that the LGPA enacted a strict dress code which has gained backlash. While Spiranac is clearly well-endowed in golf (and other areas), her thigh gap leaves a lot to be desired. This is a tough sell because Spiranac is gorgeous and may be one of the few examples where a healthy, fit woman cannot pull off the thigh gap. This may be a case of bad symmetry, but the thigh gap doesn't match her upper body making her legs look more unhealthy than they really are.
13 (Want To) Shari Onley
The Legends Football League, or LFL, isn't exactly the most popular sport right now. Even less well known is Shari Onley who played for the Chicago Bliss, the New South Wales team in the Australian LFL and was known as "Amazon" on the Australian show Gladiators. It stands to reason that Onley may not be well known to the average American sports fan, but Onley had and still currently has, the look of a real life Wonder Woman. As a football player, a solid base is important, and clearly Onley never skipped her leg workouts. Her muscular legs defy the thigh gap naysayers and reveal possibly the best thigh gap one can have. Onley's thigh gap isn't a fashion statement. It's a by-product of hard work and drive to be the best at any sport.
12 (Not) Meryl Davis
Meryl Davis is a highly decorated Olympic Ice Dancer who won the silver medal in the 2010 Olympics. Davis also won the bronze in the team event and won the gold in the ice dancing competition during the 2014 Olympic games with Charlie White. She is a 2011 and 2013 World figure skating champion, and has six U.S. National Titles. Davis, along with White, are the first American dancers to win Olympic and World Championships.
With such accomplishments as an Olympic dancer, one would think Meryl Davis would have a great thigh gap. However, that's not the case. She, is of course, a beautiful woman, incredible athlete and American Ice Dancing icon, but she just doesn't possess the powerful leg strength displayed by tennis and volleyball players. There's no doubting she has amazing, toned legs, but the thigh gap isn't doing her justice here.
11 (Want To) Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens is a top Tennis player but often gets overlooked in the shadow of Serena Williams. Stephens has won 4 singles titles on the WTA tour and one International Tennis Federation Title. In the Australian Open in 2013, Stephens reached the semi finals defeating favorite and number 3 seed, Serena Williams.
As a tennis player, leg strength is pivotal, and Sloan Stephens has no problem showing off that strength. For Sloan Stephens, the thigh gap works because of her amazingly powerful legs that being a pro tennis player provides. She is rocking the short dress and looks stunningly healthy. This thigh gap doesn't have the sickly, frail look seen in other athletes. Sloane Stephens has the sexy feminine look but retains all the toughness.
10 (Not) Holly Sonders
Holly Sonders is a professional golf analyst and host of two shows on the Golf Channel. Sonders appeared destined to go pro, having a great deal of success in college, helping her team win the Big Ten Championship in 2007. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury kept her from a professional golf career. Sonders turned the injury into a positive, taking her knowledge to broadcasting. She's become a successful analyst on FOX Sports as well as the host of School of Golf and Morning Drive. Her presence on those shows have gained her a great deal of popularity resulting in Sonders being featured on the cover of Golf Digest.
Despite her popularity and attractiveness, her thigh gap is not something to be flaunted. She may be a tall 5'8" but the thigh gap just doesn't quite work for her. The frail petite look just doesn't compliment her strong, opinionated personality.
9 (Want To) Lolo Jones
Lori "Lolo" Jones is an American hurdler and bobsledder, making her one of the few athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Jones has won three NCAA titles at Louisiana State University, currently holds the record in the 60 meter hurdles and has won a gold medal in the 2013 FIBT Championship on the U.S. national bobsled team.
Being a part of sports where running is the main feature, Jones has a surprisingly awesome thigh gap. When competing in the Olympics, Jones doesn't have an ounce of body fat to slow her down and still her legs look voluptuous. They aren't tremendously skinny like many other runners, and when she's not on her extreme diet, her thigh gap looks even more excellent. Her legs are extremely toned, powerful and natural. She may not possess the elusive "perfect" thigh gap, but even for a runner, her thigh gap is one to be proud of.
8 (Not) Alex Morgan
Alex Morgan is an American soccer sensation, winning Gold in the Olympics, winning the FIFA World Championship and is an all around American hero. Morgan has a long list of stats and accomplishments in soccer. Morgan ended 2012 with 28 goals and 21 assists, making her one of only two American women to do so.
There's no denying Alex Morgan's historic soccer credentials and no one is going to say Alex Morgan isn't in shape, but in some pictures, she looks frighteningly skinny. It makes sense that a soccer player wouldn't have a lot of body fat but her looks may make people question her eating habits. Morgan is a national treasure, but hopefully no one sees her skinny jeans and thinks that's the ideal image for all women. We love you, Alex, but the thigh gap may not be for you.
7 (Want To) Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella is best known for her role in WWE as well as on the hit shows Total Divas and Total Bellas. Nikki Bella is a the longest reigning WWE Diva's Champion, having won the title twice, and, in a shocker, ranked #1 in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated top female wrestlers of 2015. While pro wrestling often gets treated unfairly in the sports world, no one can deny the athleticism, the strength and physical fitness that these wrestlers possess. Nikki is no different, able to go a full 20-minute match without rest and summon the strength to lift her opponent on her shoulders for a vicious Rack Attack finishing maneuver.
One could argue Nikki has the perfect WWE female superstar look with one of the most perfect thigh gap. She's skinny enough do the necessary cardio for her matches but has the magnificent legs for the required strength to lift her opponents onto her shoulders. The result is a nigh perfect thigh gap and nigh perfect body.
6 (Not) Natalie Gulbis
Natalie Gulbis is an American golfer and played in the LPGA Tour. She turned professional in 2001 at the age of 18 and finished third in the LPGA qualifying tournament. She finished in the top ten in four consecutive championships before finally winning her first title in 2007 in the Evian Masters. She also played part in three US Solheim Cup victories for her team. Lately, her golfing career hasn't been stellar, and she seems more in tune to politics than her golf swing with a possible Congressional run in the future.
Despite being considered a sex symbol of the golfing world in 2005 and modeling wearing only body paint in Sports Illustrated, Natalie Gulbis posted an alarming workout photo of her looking very skinny. What's supposed to be a great pre workout selfie is actually a scary sight and a cause for concern. The thigh gap on Natalie Gulbis doesn't quite work for her and despite being an athlete, she looks more unhealthy "in shape" than many people without a gym membership do.
5 (Want To) Allison Stokke
Allison Stokke is a track and field athlete who broke many high school records in pole vaulting. She is currently a professional pole vaulter as well as a fitness model for Nike and Gap. She failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and has since continued her modeling career and started working with GoPro. Her GoPro videos were a huge hit on Youtube with views surpassing one million.
Allison Stokke possesses a lean, ripped body and appears incredibly healthy, with a tantalizing thigh gap. It would seem that her shapely body looks great because of hard work and smart eating habits rather than being devoid of food entirely. Stokke is a model that can be looked up to and admired, attributing her terrific physical shape to diet and time in the gym.
4 (Not) Svetlana Shkolina
Svetlana Shkolina is a Russian high jumper with a relatively long career in the sport. Her crowning achievement, thus far, has been the bronze medal in high jump during the 2012 Olympics. She's also placed fourteenth in the 2008 Olympics and won the gold medal at the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) World Championships in Athletics held in Moscow of 2013.
Although Svetlana Shkolina has a couple of medals, she's going to lose some points in the thigh gap department. She's a fine example of the worries that arise from the thigh gap fad when this is considered the perfect body image. One would think Shkolina is in the best possible shape a person can be, considering she's an Olympic athlete after all. Yet, Shkolina looks terribly skinny. If her Russian trainers are telling her she's in perfect shape, it might be time for a second opinion.
3 (Great) Skylar Diggins-Smith
Skylar Diggins-Smith is a professional WNBA player for the Dallas Wings. In college, Skylar led Notre Dame to three Final Fours and two NCAA Championship matches in the tournament. Skylar was the third overall draft pick and was drafted to the Tulsa Shock which later became the Dallas Wings. She was an All-Star in the 2014 season ranking second in the league for scoring. An unfortunate injury kept her from participating in the playoffs of the 2015 season, but she has since recovered and continues to play, as of this writing, averaging 18.5 points per game.
Despite being a lanky 6 foot tall point guard, Skylar has a sexy, strong and healthy pair of legs. For Skylar, the thigh gap works and is a good fit for her tall build. Skylar needs strong legs for those rebounds and three point shots, and Skylar keeps them lean without sacrificing strength or nutrition. Even though she's required to have excellent cardio, Skylar isn't afraid of healthy body weight and maintains a strong, attractive look.
2 (Not) Darya Klishina
Darya Klishina is a Russian professional long jumper and qualified for the 2016 Olympics finishing 9th in the long jump. However, Klishina would go on to win the silver medal in the long jump during the 2017 IAAF World Championship in Athletics.
Her athletic accolades aside, Darya Klishina's thigh gap is noticeable but for all the wrong reasons. Now, it's obvious, like Olympic sprinters, long jumpers aren't going to want a lot of weight slowing them down, but some of these athletes have a frightening look that raises concerns for their well-being. If these athletes are losing the weight and getting in shape the right way then so be it. It's when athletes aren't eating or are getting overworked that this look becomes dangerous and a possible health hazard. This thigh gap on Darya doesn't look good and shouldn't look good on anyone.
1 (Not) Shalane Flanagan
Shalane Flanagan is an American long distance runner and holds the American record for indoor 3000 and 5000-meter run as well as 15K road race. She has won a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing for the 10,000 meter. Later Flanagan won the bronze in the individual event and led the team USA squad to bronze medals in the IAAF World Cross Country Championship in 2010 and 2011.
Shalane Flanagan, like most runners, has the extremely skinny build one would expect, but her body looks more gaunt than physically fit. Her thigh gap is not a look anyone should be going for. Not that Flanagan is personally going for the thigh gap look, but for young women to think that this is a perfect, attractive look would be a dangerous mindset to have. This look even among Olympics athletes should be alarming to everyone. Any girls that have this look without even competing in sports may be showing signs of a serious health hazard.