Everyone feels uncool from time to time, feeling like they do things a little differently from everyone else — even Olympians and Paralympians. But that’s nothing to apologize for. In fact, we think it's something to celebrate.
That is also the thinking of Nicole Alvarez, a DJ at Los Angeles rock station KROQ — and sister of 2014 Olympic short track speedskater Eddy Alvarez — along with photographer Tamar Levine. The two started the online movement, We Are All Uncool, which asks people to celebrate their differences by posting a photo of themselves on social media holding a sign that says “I Am Not Cool” and listing three things about themselves that makes them unique.
Their vision is to get people “to stop apologizing for who we are, let’s stop living in fear of what others might think, and let’s start celebrating our differences. They might not be ‘cool,’ but they make us, us.”
Here is what eight Team USA athletes said makes them feel uncool…
(You can share your three things along with your selfie on Instagram with the hashtag #WeAreAllUncool.)
Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track speedskating silver medalist
I back up my sister @nicalvarez no matter what but, when she told about this project I MOST DEFINITELY had to jump in on it!!! We all try and hide so much behind our online personas, but imperfections are a beautiful thing in this world. It makes us... US. I may be an Olympian and a professional baseball player, but at the end if the day I like chick flicks, dance naked in front of the mirror way too often, and may fart in public places and cover my nose to make it seem like it wasn't me. #dork4life CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE, see how they are changing things up www.wearealluncool.com. @wearealluncool
Kelly Clark, three-time Olympic snowboarding medalist
1. I am an introvert and my favorite thing to listen to is an educational podcast called "Stuff You Should Know." I have listened to so many it seems like the podcasters could be my friends.
2. I tell people that I wear a face mask when I snowboard because it blocks the sun and keeps me warm. But I actually wear it because I am insecure about my acne.
3. I have binge watched nearly the entire series of “Friends” since it came on Netflix this year. And when I finish it, I plan on starting it over.
Tyler Clary, Olympic swimming gold medalist
1. I am a gaming nerd. I play “League of Legends” every day and not a lot of people know that.
2. I’m scared that people don’t view me as I truly am. The media can construe things and the image I had going into the 2012 Olympics was not one that I felt I deserved. I get nervous around reporters and overthink everything I say.
3. Being a swimmer, my body is constantly on display. I’m insecure that I don’t look like my competitors with the cut six-packs and defined pecs. No matter how good of shape I am in, I will never look as fit as I really am.
Shawn Johnson, four-time Olympic gymnastics medalist
1. I'm still obsessed with Harry Potter. I once watched all the movies back to back for 48 hours straight and, yes, I've read all the books.
2. I can't throw a baseball for the life of me and I don't understand why. Football, heck yes. Baseball, not a chance. I once threw out the first pitch at a home Cubs game in Des Moines, Iowa, and did so bad I made ESPN's “Not Top Ten” for many consecutive weeks in a row.
3. I believe the most fashionable outfit I own are way oversized baggy Nike shorts and a baggy worn out T-shirt and tennis shoes. Yes, I wear it out in public on a daily basis.
Lolo Jones, Olympic hurdler and Olympic bobsledder
1. I can easily squat over 200 pounds but I still do not have a big butt.
2. I wear the same bra size as my 12-year-old niece.
3. I do not have an Olympic medal.
Jessica Long, 17-time Paralympic swimming medalist
1. I’d rather stay in on a Saturday night eating sushi and watching a movie alone.
2. Even at 23, I worry about my skin breaking out and my appearance. It makes me self-conscious.
3. I prefer going to the library to borrow a new book over shopping at the mall.
Sanya Richards-Ross, four-time Olympic track gold medalist
1. I used to be extremely insecure about my accent. When I first moved to the United States from Jamaica I was very bashful to speak in front of people because I sounded different than all the other kids.
2. One of my biggest insecurities is my big, bony kneecaps.
3. I’ve become really insecure about my skin after having lesions from my skin disease. The disease left me with a lot of scars on my arms, and I always like to wear long sleeves.
Ashley Wagner, Olympic figure skating bronze medalist
A couple days ago the ever so lovely @nicalvarez of #KROQ reached out to me and asked me to be a part of her passion project, so here we go. Three things about me you would never know! 1. I have a crippling fear of elevators and ceiling fans. I would sooner walk up ten flights of stairs than jump into one of those steel coffins. 2. I'm way more comfortable hanging out with kids and the elderly, than I am people my own age. Anything in between that I have NO idea what to do with. 3. I have big ol' beaver teeth that I'm super self-conscious about. I wish I had smaller chompers every day! #wearealluncool For more info on this awesome, honest project, check it out at www.wearealluncool.com.