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August 12, 2004


Naked Olympians+

Continuing the classical trend of nudity at the Olympics, a number of female athletes scheduled to compete in Athens have opted to display their toned, award-winning bodies in non-sporting magazines, such as Pl*yboy and FHM. These women are not the first Olympians to appear in these publications: Katarina Witt, the skater, posed in Pl*yboy 10 years after she won her last gold medal (Ice Capades not hiring that year, Katerina?) And Amanda Beard, who swam in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when she was only 14, has posed for photos wearing, as the Times reports, "swimsuits that will probably not help her break the world record she holds in the 200-meter breaststroke."

Is this display insulting and degrading, as the executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation says it is? Should we be concerned about the double standard that female athletes face? Or wonder why male Olympians are not marketed as sex symbols first, and athletes second?

Well, let's see what the athletes-slash-models have to say. Amanda Beard: "I'm not quite sure what other people think about the recent magazines, but, for me, personally, I have fun doing it and I enjoy it. It's a chance for me to branch out of swimming and kind of experience some other things like modeling and stuff." Elegantly said, Amanda.

High jumper Amy Acuff is more matter-of-fact: "I did it for the financial aspect. It's really hard to make that kind of money in the real world."

I think we've stumbled upon the secret: continue to offer women more lucrative deals in modelling than in sports (or potentially, in any other career track) and they'll have no choice but to turn to nude modelling to make ends meet! - Amy

Lest you think female Olympians are the only ones being ogled, don't forget the weirdo, fetishist coverage of 19-year-old swimmer Michael Phelps, who has been the subject of a number of titillating pictorials and salivating feature articles in the weeks leading up to the games. - Emily

categories: Gender, Media, Sports
posted by amy at 11:16 AM | #