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Bigger bodied 14-year-old diver plunges off diving board making headlines when he starts to flip
The teen is showing the whole world that size doesn't matter in sports.
Cherie Gozon
06.22.22

Our society has constantly pressured us to fit in a mold. It seems like there is a universal mindset on what someone should look like and should be – like how we were illusioned to have a specific standard of beauty or ideal occupation based on gender.

Unsplash - Tim Mossholder
Source:
Unsplash - Tim Mossholder

Little by little, people stepped up to break the norm. While some people still force their age-old stereotypes on us, we see heroes in those who say no to them; Women who are engineers, astronauts, and race car drivers. Models of different races, ethnicity, shape, and size.

YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona

This teenager went viral because he showed people he could beat those stereotypes. Zeke Sanchez is determined and passionate – something he needed from his chosen sport.

Breaking the mold

If you don’t fit the mold, might as well break it! That’s what Zeke Sanchez did to most people’s expectations for those who participate in his sport – diving.

YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona

What is our image of a diver? Someone toned with all the abs and muscles, perhaps? The “Baywatch body,” as they call it. But Zeke doesn’t have that body and proved to people that that’s not the only image of a diver. He is living proof of that.

Breaking the internet

Zeke posted a video of his dive attempt on his Instagram page way back in 2018, and it garnered more than 180,000 views. This was picked up by a sports page before, but Zeke wasn’t tagged. He thought it’d be cool to get noticed again, so he worked on it.

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This year SportsCenter, Barstool Sports, and ESPN took notice of his diving skills, and people started talking abuzz about this boy who could dive! SportsCenter reposted one of his videos, which has been viewed more than 3 million times!

Breaking the stigma

If there was a champion for body positivity, it’s Zeke. He proved to the world that he could participate in sports, especially diving, where people would expect such toned and muscular bodies.

YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona

“They’ve never really seen a kid like my size able to do something like that before. But I think that if you really want to try and do something, if you put your mind to it, that you could do it,” he told ABC 15 Arizona on why people connected with his video so much.

Even his coach praised him not because he broke the stigma of body standards in his sport but because he had something every sporting coach would look for.

YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - ABC 15 Arizona

“He’s not out here trying to do flips. He’s out here listening to his corrections and making sure he has the right form, and he’s, you know, listening to the stuff that I give him,” East Valley Dive Club Head Coach Lauren Thiel said about Zeke.

She added that in their sport, what’s important is the dedication and attention to details – something Zeke has constantly improved. His talent and dedication inspired many, including his coach, teammates, and kids his size and age who might feel like they have no place in sports.

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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