Since when did the Olympics become all about being sexy versus competing, representing your country and striving for a gold medal? Like, suddenly the way a female athlete looks is an open invitation for the body-snarking, fat-shaming comments to begin. But if you ask American weightlifter, Holley Mangold (who happens to be the heaviest woman at the Games this summer), she is proud of her weight and is fighting back–and so are many other Olympic women.
Mangold may weigh 346 pounds, but if you ask her, her body and her weight is a something to be proud of:
Between my team mate (Sarah Robles) and I, I think we both showed you can be athletic at any size. I’m not saying everyone is an athlete but I am saying an athlete can come in any size.
Mangold also reinforces her pride through Twitter, where her profile has the tagline “Loving life and living big!”
We love that.
Other athletes this summer have also come under fire for being fat, but they too are fighting back and telling everyone to just get over it. It’s something that women have had to endure–but not men, of course (unless you consider all the drooling over Michael Phelps‘ 22-Olympic-medals-body).
British athlete Jessica Ennis, who won gold in the heptathlon this weekend, was actually called fat and accused of carrying too much weight by a high-ranking UK athletics official before the Games began. Um, I can’t seem to find any fat on her. How about you?
Then there was Australia’s swimmer Leisel Jones who was also called fat by a rude Australian paper who suggested she did not look as fit as at Beijing in 2008. Her teammates fired right back saying this paper was disgraceful and demeaning.
British swimmer Rebecca Adlington has faced similar criticism but told reporters she was going to avoid reading Twitter during the Games because some people were making such negative comments about her body. And the Brazilian women’s soccer team were also called “a bit heavy” to which their coach defended them by basically saying they move fast out on the field, and that’s all you need to know.
The Olympics are not about looking hot or sexy or skinny. But sadly, that is what they have become, at least in part. Endorsements are given to those who have sex-appeal. Athletes are taking off their clothes and posing nude for ESPN’s magazine, and viewers (including some of my friends on Facebook) just can’t help but comment on the way the beach volleyball women look in their skimpy bikinis (if they choose to wear them this year). It’s a lot of hype over the wrong thing. If there’s any gawking to be done, let it be about the sport and the performance of these amazing athletes–not their bodies and how much fat they do or don’t have.
As Briana wrote about today, it’s OK to admire Olympic athletes, but just know that the media is full of crap when it comes to commenting on their bodies.