The Beauty of the Olympic Body

31 May

Heptathlete and Olympic hopeful Jessica Ennis was recently denounced as “fat,” by a senior official at UK Athletics. The 26-year old is in the top 10 in her field worldwide, making the sprinting, hurdling, throwing woman likely in pristine and elite physical condition.






Two-time Olympic Gold-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington has announced that she is abandoning her Twitter account during the London summer Olympics because of the near-constant abusive criticism she receives concerning her appearance and personality.                                           

What is going on here? What is at stake for random Twittering fools and members of UK Athletics with these forms of criticism? To judge a gold-medal winning swimmer for her “beauty”–whatever one’s particular standards of such may be, is totally and utterly irrelevant to her profession, public persona, and place in the world. To refer to a woman who likely engages in extreme physical activity for several hours a day, at least six times a week, as “fat” is foolhardy, false, and suspicious.

Further, how can this type of misogynist criticism be anything other than destructive when these women are preparing for some of the biggest competitive events each will face in their lifetimes? In addition to their daily training, mental and emotional preparation, and publicity events, they must also be expected to act and look as if they are in a beauty pageant? Hateful nonsense.

The day I hear tell of Bernard Lagat’s weight being ridiculed, or Michael Phelp’s attractiveness serving as indication of his physical and athletic greatness, is the day I win Miss Universe.


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