August 10, 2012

"Governing" Olympic Bodies

Okay, so I was reading the news last week when I came across a story that made me drop my bagel. Evidently, the "world" isn't happy with some of the female bodies competing in the 2012 Olympic Games. These women (Olympic athletes no less) were scrutinized and chastized for being "too heavy" and appearing unfit. Interesting. I never heard one word about the male "heavy weights" ...but I sure saw them on TV!

This week, in my gym (as I was furiously spinning my atrophied little heart out), I couldn't help but watch the female Olympic volleyball teams going at it, on the beach, wearing next to nothing. I tried to figure out the benefits of wearing little bikini tops and bottoms in sport (as it related to performance) but couldn't seem to get there. Was this really another opportunity to exploit women's bodies? Naaaaahhhh..........There must be a reason I fail to see. Perhaps I missed a course in Kinesiology on bikinis as performance enhancers.

I have never considered myself a staunch "feminist" but I am very aware of the inequalities between genders in sport...and the Olympics represent these well. From public scrutiny over female fatness to creating a culture where bikinis are the uniform of sport....I wonder when (or if) it will ever change.

It wasn't too long ago when we believed that a women's uterus would fall out if she overexerted herself (although I do think I lost mine on that spin bike at some point). We sure have come a long way, yet women's athletics do not recieve the same media sponsorship, don't get the prime times to play, and certainly don't get the same amount of public attention as men's athletics. Will this ever change?

I have to say, I'm not a fan of the Olympic Games (I'm very thankful I don't have cable right now). At one time it was a pure exhibition of human performance, but now it's all about the sponsorship, finding the performance enhancing drug that won't be detected in testing, and the politics (oohhh the politics). I read a book in my first year of Kinesiology that turned it around for me, "The Lords of the Rings; Power, Money, and Drugs in the Modern Olympics"....(why do I read such books, it only leads to trouble). If you are interested in a different perspective of this global event that causes frenzy in pubs, and depression with losses check it out.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the athletes. Working at the Universtiy of Victoria, I knew many who headed off to the games. They work hard and deserve their time in the sun. They start young and are groomed for this. Unfortunately, they don't have time for much else. The lack of balance can't be without costs down the road.......I assure you.

At any rate, the Olympic Games are coming to a close and it won't be too long before the next begins. Meanwhile, the inactivity rates continue to rise and we continue to look for ways to motivate and encourage physical activity with little financial support or political interest.......

What's wrong with this picture?

K

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