Francesco Carrozzini

The Interview

Being involved in sports, you think less about how your body looks and more how it performs.

Why pose for the Body Issue?

I've definitely had reservations about doing things like this in the past, but to be grouped together with some of the most accomplished and skilled athletes in the world is a huge honor. I love that this issue celebrates athletic bodies of every shape and size. I chose to do this shoot to give girls and women a strong, athletic body they can look up to and aspire to.

I did a [similar] shoot for FHM magazine about eight years ago. To this day, it's one of the first images that appears when you Google my name. I wanted to give people something new and improved to talk about.

What did you learn from that almost decade-old shoot?

I've grown from that place. That shoot was back when I first had some success in snowboarding, and I felt like I had to do it for the exposure -- for both the sport and myself. It wasn't a great experience, plus that shoot was about being sexy. This time, I wanted to do it. This was about power and strength.

I've learned that you have to make careful choices, because everything has an impact. I've also learned that you can't please everyone in life, so please yourself and figure out what really matters.

How has your body evolved?

For the last year, I've been focused on reinvention and change -- in every aspect of my life. I started training differently on the hill, changing the way I snowboard and trying to take things to a new level.

I also started eating differently: no gluten, dairy, caffeine or alcohol. I wanted to see how my body responded. It was pretty awesome, actually. The restricted diet in conjunction with working out with a new trainer, who had me doing crazy, explosive, fun exercises, took my body somewhere that it had never been before.

Spiritually, I'm in a great place, too. I went from having great success to going through a bit of a burnout phase to working through that. Getting older, getting married, buying a house, becoming a different person … I had to figure out what my new motivations, inspirations and goals were. I'm at a point where I'm really excited about what I'm doing. But it's taken some learning, growing and evaluations to get there.

Have you ever felt self-conscious?

Yes, of course. Everyone does at some point. I've always had bigger legs and butt; it's just the way I'm built. Over time I realized that they were blessings because that foundation -- my legs and butt -- is what helps me flip 12 feet above an icy halfpipe. Being involved in sports, you think less about how your body looks and more how it performs.

-- Interview by Morty Ain

More Athletes

Gretchen Bleiler

Olympic and X Games snowboarder
  • Age

    30

  • Body stats

    5-foot-5, 125 pounds

  • Birthplace

    Toledo, Ohio

  • Career highlight

    2010 X Games superpipe gold medalist; 2008 X Games halfpipe gold medalist.

  • Who knew?

    Bleiler was a guest judge on the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" and had to eat dozens of cupcakes in her enviable role.

Featured Video

The Body Issue

Gretchen Bleiler poses for ESPN The Mag Body Issue