The thing I love about the Olympics especially the Summer Olympics it the fact that every 4 years the athletic body is thoroughly celebrated. From the sinewy ripped bodies of the track and field runners and jumpers, the long lean divers and swimmers, to the short compact gymnasts every athletic body type is on display in its full glory not just of form but in action. When you watch the Olympics there is an incredible and undeniable appreciation not only of what the body looks like, but also what it can achieve and endure. This is especially true for the female form. Societally there has been this battle of aesthetics when it come to the female body from the extreme polarities of size 00 model types to the zaftig curvy Sofia Vergara and Jennifer Lopez types. The middle tends to be a grey wasteland where the idea of “average” is seldom acknowledged or addressed, and the athletic body is heralded only in context.
Where the 90’s was the era of the Gym body, tight butts and hard abs as a result of hours on the treadmill, spin class or kick boxing. I remember the times when women wanted to be tight, no giggle no wiggle. They wanted to look like they worked out. Times have changed, as has the ideal female body type, now Modern day woman who seeks to be physically fit walks a precarious line of being firm yet curvy in all the right places. She wants to look like she’s “in shape” but not like she works too hard for it. Enter the Yoga Body: long, lean, pliant but toned, firm but not bulky, and mainly non-threatening. The only tell tale signs that you “do” something are evidenced by a wicked set of guns (a result of endless downward facing dogs) and the ubiquitous yoga mat under the arm or slung over the back.
What excites me about the summer Olympic is that the world will be enthralled with all of these muscular, powerful, skilled bodies. Too often the female body is sexual objectified, reduced to something to satisfy the male gaze and fulfill its desires, and where these athletic beauties will also be sexualized in articles, with photo spreads where they are barely clothed exposing there sculpted bodies, no amount of styling will be able to conceal that these women are strong and confident and self possessed (not to mention they could probably kick your ass!) People are already talking about swimmer Dara Torres’ abs. She is a feat of nature; at 45 she is a mother and five Olympic games competitor (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008) and has the sickest body I have ever seen!!! The other thing that I love is that although these Olympians are ripped, they all have different body types, and proportions they are tall, short, thick, lanky, long legged, with short torsos, long torsos, wide hips, boyish builds, but they are all so incredibly beautiful, goddesses each and every one.
So this summer all the women with big muscular thighs and calves (holla) ripped abs, strong backs, whether genetically endowed or earned through working out will be praised and celebrated. Get ready to be compared to Allyson Felix, Lolo Jones or even Ms. Torres when you are walking down the street. You can feel empowered by the fact that you have a Gold Medal body and that is just and fabulous as JLo Booty. Let the Games begin!
Elisa Di Francisca – Italy – Fencing
Allyson Felix – USA – Track and Field
Lolo Jones- USA – Track and Field
Natalie Coughlin – USA – Swimming