Are you watching the Beijing Olympics? I’m catching parts of it, and it’s a big watercooler topic here at work. The other day, Joy Nash (among others) posted some photos of Olympians of varying shapes and sizes.
It kinda cracks your head open to realize that each of these people [is] perfect. They’re uniquely suited and perfectly designed to accomplish the feats that they do. And they’re all different. It’s really really stupid that “athletic build” means “shaped like a swimmer or a track star”…
Those stats listed are really incredible: the shotputter’s biceps measure the same as the cyclist’s thighs; the marathoner can only bench press 65 pounds; and I really get a kick that [the 300-pound weightlifter and the 103 pound marathon runner; both women] eat roughly the same amount of calories every day.
Here are the gnomish female gymnasts, seemingly more compact than ever, more muscularly developed and yet at the same time troublingly arrested, to judge from the lack of secondary sexual characteristics like breasts.
Here is Dara Torres, the 41-year-old swimmer with the blister-pack abs and the padded deltoids, her stupendous physique attained, she says, through Herculean training, and now unquestionably resembling that of a cover boy for Men’s Health.
Here are the sprinters, their muscular bodies so different from those of the whippet-lean athletes of yesteryear. What is it that happened to the human body, one finds oneself asking…
As La Wade saw it, he’s saying that modern female olympians are too buff for his tastes. But he also leads up to the point that “human perfection continues to evolve” in his discussion of changing beauty ideals. Perhaps he isn’t intending to come across as quite so intolerant of muscular women with small breasts. Still, there’s a subtext here. He’s using the Olympics’ historical origins as an excuse for evaluating the “physical beauty” of the athletes, and seemingly finding them wanting. And that’s a little troublesome.
[ETA this post from Ottermatic, about what male vs. female competitive athletes are "allowed" to eat.]
Posted by mo pie