This is an online exclusive story from ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue 2018.
After bursting onto the global sports scene with a three-medal performance at the Rio Olympics, Tori Bowie went on to claim the title of world's fastest woman with an electric leaning finish in the 100 meters at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. (Her time: 10.85 seconds.) She's proving she can turn heads in the fashion world as well: Bowie was featured in a Valentino campaign last year. The Undefeated reporter Rhiannon Walker managed to catch up with the speedster long enough to discuss her recent Body Issue photo shoot, her training regimen and the scariest moment of her life.
What do you like about your body?
Just being strong overall. I train my entire body to be strong. To be a professional athlete, we need every part to be strong -- the core, the legs, arms. If I could pick one body part, I'd probably pick my thighs, my quads. I feel they're the strongest part my body.
What is the one workout or exercise you can't live without?
The balance work. I love the Bosu ball. At least two or three times a week, I'm on the Bosu ball just doing a ton of balance work. It keeps my body in tip-top shape. But also, when I came to Florida to train [at the National Training Center in Clermont], we started lifting four days a week. I went from skipping gym sessions and feeling really uncomfortable because I was lifting the least amount of weights to getting really comfortable in there. Right now, though, I can't live without my sprint or speed workouts. Those are typically on Mondays or Thursdays, and it's really, really short sprints, so really, really fast. We're supposed to be giving 100 percent effort, and I feel like those are the training days that actually get me to where I need to be.
Have you ever felt self-conscious about your body?
It has taken some time to be able to adapt to being so lean and strong and looking really manly. I have had some insecurities there, but over time I'm starting to accept it and embrace it, because this is the figure I have to have and the strength I have to have in order to be able to do my job. It has taken me some time to grow out of it. The older I get, the more comfortable I get.
Do you think there is anything unhealthy about how you treat your body?
Well, of course. I don't really have a strict diet. I tend to keep the junk food out, but I tend to follow my cravings as well. I love the chips, the hot wings, fries. I tend to eat it all, to be honest.
What is the biggest challenge you face with your body?
That's a hard one, because right now, I'm more concerned with the mental side of competition than with my body. I'm working on learning how to zone out the rest of my competition and just focus on myself. I've been struggling with my focus and my concentration, and those are things I continue to improve on.
What's the worst thing your body has ever gone through?
I had to have surgery on my jaw. It was broken in three different places. It wasn't even attached to my face. I've actually never told anyone how it happened. My sister and I went out. It was around the time I was getting ready to go to the Olympic trials in 2012. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time. Something was thrown, and I was the person that got hit with it in a public place. I still don't know who did it to this day. My jaw was wired shut for eight to 10 weeks. When I ate, all the fluids had to go between my teeth, because I was wired completely shut.
What do you think of or tell yourself when you feel like you can't train any further?
I just take a look around and look at the rest of my group members. I'm in a training group with about 20 athletes, and they're all amazing. If I have days like that, I take a look around and see everyone else getting it done, so I really have no excuses not to get it done.
What would you say is the most impressive physical feat that you have accomplished?
Making the Olympic team was the biggest thing I've ever accomplished. That was something I had to wait four years to accomplish. I'll always say that was my biggest feat.
For more from the 2018 Body Issue, pick up a copy on newsstands starting June 29.
Production by Overflow Productions; Makeup by Natalie Black; Hair by KevynFredricks MasterStylist; Set Design by Mike Froitzheim