Friday, August 22, 2008

Athletics imitate life

My ex forwarded me this article, “Sex and the Olympic city,” from the Times Online today. From the lead photo (my eyes!), I figured it was just going to be more of the usual inappropriateness that boys like to send around the Internet, especially on Fridays, but it’s actually really interesting. And it’s told in first person by former Olympian Matthew Syed, with personal anecdotes—my fav. Most of the story is simply an entertaining peephole into the Olympic Village, which apparently functions a lot like a co-ed freshman dorm during the first week of college. Who knew? I’ll never watch the Olympics quite the same way again…

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, however, the most interesting part of the article, to me, was quickly brushed over:
“It is worth noting an intriguing dichotomy between the sexes in respect of all this coupling. The chaps who win gold medals - even those as geeky as Michael Phelps - are the principal objects of desire for many female athletes. There is something about sporting success that makes a certain type of woman go crazy … But - and this is the thing - success does not work both ways. Gold-medal winning female athletes are not looked upon by male athletes with any more desire than those who flunked out in the first round. It is sometimes even considered a defect, as if there is something downright unfeminine about all that striving, fist pumping and incontinent sweating. Sport, in this respect, is a reflection of wider society, where male success is a universal desirable whereas female success is sexually ambiguous. I do not condone this phenomenon, merely note it.”
Nice observation, Matthew! I wished he would go on, in his deliciously British prose, but instead he starts writing about athletes’ smoking habits. And the “certain type of woman” comment—I won’t even get into that. So it looks as though we can add one more either/or to female existence: Olympic Champion OR Village Vamp. Meanwhile, Phelps gets to have it all.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Ewwww... Phelps is such a freak of nature. I hadn't thought about him getting laid.....

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