Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Say "No" to Beach Bums

I'm watching the Olympics, with all it's pomp and glory, and getting into it more than I have in years. What's different for me this time around is that China is the host, and I'm interested in the cultural/political background and how it will all play out before the world. And too, of course, there's the sport.

Ah yes, the sport. Hard work, determination. The training, the physical demands, the excitement, tension, drama, all leading to the one moment of decision -- Can she do it? Will he make it?

So why, then, are the Women in the Beach Volleyball competition practically naked?

You don't need to be in any way hormonal to immediately zero in on the fact that the women are wearing itty-bitty bikini bottoms. And I have no problem with women in bikinis. But as a world-class athlete competing in the Olympics, wouldn't you want -- nay, demand -- sports apparel that is practical and does not distract your attention from the game?

I wish to be tasteful and I wish to be clear, so let me present some facts: These women are fit. These women have worked hard to be in this competition. These women have glutes of steel and they look good.

But those bikinis, they keep riding up. On a normal woman, those little bottoms would be a thong. If those bikinis ride up on world class athletes, then the only thing to conclude is that the bikinis are poorly sized and they don't fit. Whoever chose these uniforms made a poor decision.

However, I could be wrong. Perhaps bikini bottoms are, in fact, the most reasonable apparel for this sport. That being true, one question: why aren't the men also wearing them?

I saw one of the women dive for a volley and go face first into the sand. She got up and examined her stomach, which was scraped up, and had to re-arrange her bikini, which obviously contained sand -- not part of any woman's Olympic dream. If she had been dressed like the men -- in T-shirts and shorts -- she would have been fine.

Ultimately, it's up to the athletes to decide what is the appropriate uniform for their sport. As an observer, I cannot help but note the obvious disparity between the men and women and wonder who really chose the costumes for the women -- because they sure didn't. The sports bra top? Infinitely practical. The bottoms? I can't think of any other event that requires the competitors to obtain a Brazilian wax.

Here at Café Tor we ask only for logic and fairness: put the women in boy shorts that offer some coverage, or require the men to wear Speedos. Let the athletes choose. One-sided sexist exhibitionism has no place at this level of sporting competition.

Besides, no one wants to pick a wedgie on the world stage.

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