Why Do Athletes Look More Attractive?

Have you ever noticed that athletes often stand out for their looks? It’s not just their fit bodies but also their facial features. Many athletes have straight teeth, defined jawlines, high cheekbones, and symmetrical faces. Why is this common among athletes? Let’s explore the reasons.

Form & Function to More Attractive look

One reason athletes tend to be more attractive is that form and function go hand in hand. A face that works well usually looks good. For example, an undefined jawline often means an overbite. Overbites can cause narrow jaws and crowded teeth, which can hurt athletic performance. They can also restrict airways, leading to less oxygen flow, reduced endurance, and lower athletic capacity. Therefore, athletes with good facial structures often perform better and look more attractive.

To perform their best, athletes need clear airways and enough oxygen. This need explains why well-structured faces are common among successful athletes.

We are naturally drawn to features that signal good health and vitality because these traits suggest better chances of survival and reproduction. In the past, choosing a partner capable of providing food and strong genetics was essential.

This a bit preference helps explain why athletes, who often have these traits, are seen as attractive.

In addition, research supports the idea that attractiveness and athletic performance are linked. For example, Erik Postma’s study on cyclists found that better performers were considered more attractive [reference]. Another study in 2017 found that attractive tennis players were more successful, earning higher prizes and more sponsorship!

Social Perception and Physical Fitness

Attractiveness isn’t just about looks, social perception matters too. Athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo are admired for their skills, success, and wealth, not just their looks. People often associate an athlete’s success on the field with other positive traits.

Athletes are usually in great shape, which enhances their facial features. For example, a strong jawline, linked to good health and efficient airway function, can make a person more attractive. Well-developed jaws are less likely to obstruct airways, which is crucial for health.

We assess beauty visually and socially. Visually, we look for features like symmetry. Socially, knowing about a person’s success and skills can make them seem more attractive. Famous athletes score high on both these fronts.

The Role of Sports in Society

Not all athletes fit conventional beauty standards, but their fitness often makes them more attractive. Sports require low body fat and high muscle development. This doesn’t mean all athletes look like models, but their physical condition often makes them more attractive than average.

In high schools and universities, athletes often enjoy special social status. In the U.S., college sports are a big part of the culture, bringing attention and admiration to student-athletes. This social bias extends to various levels of athleticism.

The beauty bias can extend to eSports, though it’s less common. Gamers who excel might also be seen as more attractive within their communities. This depends on their skills being recognized.


Athletes are often seen as more attractive due to evolutionary biology and social psychology. Fitness and health make them more attractive, and social perceptions enhance this further.

While not all athletes are conventionally attractive, they tend to be more attractive than the general population. This blend of genetic, physical, and social factors makes athletic beauty a fascinating phenomenon. So, the next time you admire an athlete, remember that their appeal is more than just their skills on the field.

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