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Going for Gold in my Birthday Suit

August 13th, 2008     by Mir Verburg     Comments

Christie Blatchford has an interesting piece in today’s Globe and Mail about the tendency for female athletes to appear in magazines, and sometimes on the cover, nekked. Or at least, naked but for a carefully placed volleyball.

The athlete pictured there is Waneek Horn-Miller, Canada’s Olympic water polo team co-captain.

In the article, Horn-Miller, a Mohawk from Kahnawake, Que had this to say about her appearance on the cover of Canadian Time:

“Look,” she told The Globe and Mail, “It’s one chance every four years to get out an image of a healthy athletic woman instead of an underweight, underage model. Athletes’ bodies are much healthier – and they’re functional!” She says after she did the Time cover, “People told me it was something they’d show to their daughters. I mean, I was obsessed like everyone else with fashion magazines when I was a teenager. It’s natural to look for the body ideal.” But with a female athlete, she says, readers can see that “Here is a woman, a great athlete, 160 pounds, who can bench-press her own body weight and squat 180 pounds.” “Let’s face it,” she says, “as humans, we like the physically good-looking, the beautiful. “But how much better if she’s also the fastest woman in the world? It makes the ideal of beauty have so many more dimensions. It’s not just, ‘I’m skinny and I have fake boobs.’ ”

Blatchford lets the athletes speak for themselves regarding their decision to make use of their sex appeal, and the reasons why, but she does suggest that unlike the sellout 1998 edition of Playboy featuring figure skater Katarina Witt, today’s audience may find the idea of naked female athletes a little well, bo-ring. She writes:

“The world is a much friendlier place to disrobing athletes than it was once.” Indeed, when just last week outside the Olympic Village here, Ms. Beard unveiled an anti-fur poster of herself for PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the group that recently distinguished itself by coming up with an advertisement that uses the tragic beheading of a young man on a Greyhound bus to decry the inhumane treatment of animals slaughtered for meat – it was greeted with nearly a yawn. “Amanda Beard: Nude Again” read a headline in the Los Angeles Times after the 26 year-old blonde showed off the poster, a neat reflection of the blase reaction that now greets stripping athletes.

What do you think? Is it just par for the course, a little too much, or totally awesome to see women athletes strutting all of their stuff during the Beijing Olympics?

Tags: sporting goods

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