Tag Archives: gymnastics

New Uniforms for the Sexylympics and WTF?

I guess I should just be glad that the IOC isn’t considering THIS judo uniform…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I love, love, LOVE the Olympics.  In general, I don’t watch much TV.  I haven’t had cable for many years.  But for two weeks out of every two years, my entire life stops and I become an Olympiholic.  But darn it all Olympics, you’re making me so sad!

A while back we heard that there are several sports on the chopping block for inclusion in upcoming Olympic games.  Not surprisingly, many of these are the less “sexy” sports– the ones without sexy sound tracks or spectacular equipment, the ones without form fitting, revealing, sexy outfits.  The sport of Taekwondo is one of those sports considered most at risk.  So in an effort to spice things up, the World Taekwondo Federation is reviewing some new uniforms, especially for the lady fighters.

Don’t get me wrong.  This uniform is far from pornographic.  Unlike the women’s beach volleyball uniforms, it does manage to cover most of the body.  But this uniform proposal does leave me with a few nagging questions:

1.  What is the motivation for the change, and

2.  Will the uniform change equally for men and women?

Now, as this piece in the Powder Room points out, it appears that much of this site is translated loosely into English.  It’s difficult to know how much of this is because of a mangled English translation.  But the site does give me cause for concern.

On the one hand, the site lists a desire to move up to more technical fabrics that move and bend with the body (good) and will allow the sport to attach all of the important sensors that help spectators and judges know what is happening during the match (also good).  But the site also states that:

The most important reason is to take a better advantage of our female competitors because they are a treasure.  It is important to show that practicing Taekwondo gives good health, helps to stay fit and gives a beautiful body shape.  This last issue must be exploited and must be used to promote Taekwondo in this specific moment, after the success in the Olympics and a great World Championship, to attract television and mass media interest.

The site also states:

The most important reason is to take a better advantage of our female competitors because they are a treasure.  It is important to show that practicing Taekwondo gives good health, helps to stay fit and gives a beautiful body shape.  This last issue must be exploited and must be used to promote Taekwondo in this specific moment, after the success in the Olympics and a great World Championship, to attract television and mass media interest.

Female beach volleyball uniforms help amateur spectators (and lecherous camera people) determine the difference between male and female players…

I guess I shoulda seen this coming.  After all the World Taekwondo Federation acronym is “WTF”.  And with last year’s Gold-Medal-winning gymnastics hair kerfluffle and soft core porn “sports reels” this is just one of a long, long line of disappointments.

And I haven’t even begun to speak yet about the IOC’s response to Russia’s “reassurances” that their laws banning “homosexual propaganda” are still in line with the ideals of the Olympic spirit.  Seriously?!  What was the IOC thinking?  How can this ban on “homosexual propaganda” during the games possibly be okay?

We are still a few months out from the Winter Games scheduled to start in February.  But I have to admit I am fearful that the thing that always drew me to the Olympics–the different countries, the spirit of world community, the focus on the incredible athleticism displayed by the competitors, the sheer joy of watching curling at 3 AM–all of these things may be fading away.  I hope I’m wrong.  Here’s to hoping I can continue to enjoy two weeks of 24-hour Olympics coverage (sans sexist “costumes” and blatant objectification, et avec “curling”) for years to come.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  So go ahead and leave your mark in the “comments” section.


The Fat Chick

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Olympic Athletes Say “Enough” With the Fat Bashing Already

It seems even winning a gold medal in the Olympics Heptathlon isn’t enough to shut people up about your weight.  Women who can run and jump and hurdle and pole vault and lift hundreds of pounds at an undeniably elite athlete level are still receiving criticism in the media and in the social media stream about the size and shape of their bodies.  And these women have had enough!

Olympic weightlifters Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold received criticism for their size and shape although they are elite athletes at the top of their game.  Eight-time gold medal winner Liesel Jones from Australia was blasted for the way she filled out her swimsuit.  And apparently qualifying for your 4th straight Olympics games is not enough to quiet critics unless your washboard ads are visibly rippling.

Even Jessica Ennis, arguably one  of the fittest women in the world was criticized for the size and shape of her body.  She went on to win the Heptathlon for Great Britain last week.  Look, it’s one thing when folks have difficulty believing the fit/fat story in my case.  I’m a size 20 and a mere aerobics teacher.  But one has to find it at least a little ridiculous that the fittest women in the world are being criticized for not looking like supermodels.  I guess we can take heart in the fact that there is a backlash, and these women are speaking back.

But apparently no matter how accomplished you are as a woman, you’re not okay unless you look great in a swimsuit, oh and have perfect hair.

My little chicklettes, all I can say is that the world most definitely sucks sometimes.  All you can do is all you can do.  And sometimes, you just have to tell those small minded critics out there to kiss your tailfeathers.


The Fat Chick

Reducing A World Title to a Hairdo

I’d like to talk today about another way that obsession with thinness reduces us.  I wasn’t always a person who spoke out on behalf of HAES(R) and Size Acceptance.  For many years, I hated my body.  I was miserable because of my body.  And I put my life on hold waiting to be pretty enough and thin enough to be ready to begin my life.

This went on for years.

There were years and years where I wasn’t living to my full potential, because I didn’t think it was possible for a woman of size.  Day after day, I didn’t dare to try challenging things or exciting things because I thought they were impossible to achieve unless I was thin.  Month after month, I let opportunities pass me by–waiting to be acceptable.

And all during this time I was spending thousands upon thousands of dollars and thousands upon thousands of hours focused on losing weight and recovering from the inevitable (at least for me) weight gain.

I love my life now, but I honestly wonder where I might of been had I not lost nearly two decades obsessed with losing weight.  And I am one of the incredibly lucky ones.  I have a genuinely wonderful supportive family.  I have an amazing spouse.  I have a survival instinct that has always fought against this desire to make me smaller–to make me less than.

But I wonder about the millions of us that are right now not achieving, not winning not being in a world where Gabby Douglas can win the most prestigious gymnastics award in the entire world, and face a huge argument about her hairstyle.  I mean really?  Gabby beat out countless thousands of gymnasts around the country, achieving an unbelievable level of perfection in a merciless sport where skill is measured in thousandths of a point, and you want to talk about her hair?  What is going on here?

Is Gabby threatening the idea of what a gymnast should look like?  Is she redefining a visual standard of success?  You’d better believe it!  And you’d better believe that a whole lot of people are threatened by it.  And you shouldn’t be surprised when that threat manifests itself in terms of people finding any excuse to put her down.

You have to wonder, is obsession with thinness a tool used by those who must compete with us?  Those who see our talent and our power and are afraid?  Those who will do anything to put us down and make themselves seem better, sexier and more powerful?  Those who will cut down the herd of competitors by any means necessary?

My dear chicklettes.  You can choose, right now, to throw off your shackles.  You can choose to love yourself and accept yourself.  You can refuse to gain ascendancy on the backs of other women.  You can choose to empower and strengthen your fellow women and succeed together.  You can live your absolute best life, right now.  Right this very second.  I’ll be in the stands, waving a flag, jumping up and down and cheering.


The Fat Chick