Beyond Strength A photo story by Johany Jutras

There takes a certain amount of courage to compete in CrossFit. Now, a group of women have taken it to the next level. As the first stage of qualifying for this summer’s World Games begins, four Quebec athletes have exposed their real selves to the lens of photographer Johany Jutras. Their intentions are clear: to denounce physical prejudice against muscular women – and to encourage all women to be proud of their bodies.

Cindy Ouellet, Julie* (not her real name), Sonia Hurtubise and Michele Letendre have made it their mission to share the challenges they have overcome to inspire a generation of female athletes to compete, and ensure them that any perceived physical obstacle can be overcome. The women also want people to know that behind their muscles, there may sometimes be a hidden – and, perhaps, disturbing – narrative from their past.

Original story published (french) in La Presse+.

Michele Letendre.
“If we open ourselves up to the public this way, we hope we can help create more of an understanding and acceptance,” said Michele Letendre.



Sitting in her wheelchair, Cindy Ouellet is raised by the force of her arms to the top of a long rope suspended from the ceiling.
Cindy Ouellet.
"Beating the odds and battling through prejudices fuel my desire to show the world who we can become when we seize the day." -Cindy Ouellet
Sonia Hurtubise
Michele Letendre

Michele Letendre is a six-time CrossFit Games veteran and a powerful force at the Canada East and East Regionals for as long. She has claimed one of Canada East’s two Games-qualifying spots since her first regional appearance in 2011, never falling below third at the combined East Regional. She finished four of her six Games appearances in the top 18, with a career-best finish of fourth in 2014, just one spot outside the podium. A former collegiate swimmer and national-level water-polo player, Letendre retired from competition after the 2016 season.

Michele Letendre.

Inspired by Emily Abbott

Created by Johany Jutras and MC Ferron.

Created By
Johany Jutras


Photos by Johany Jutras

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