*Update – actually it’s a correction. But it certainly proves that I have no clue as to what’s happening in the Olympics, since I think everyone in a sports competition is an Olympian.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I was dimly aware the Olympics are happening. I’ve never been into them, even as a kid. It isn’t as though I have anything against the Olympics, they just…hold no interest for me.
There. I said it. And I’m not an unpatriotic asshole.
But, last night I saw the video of Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke, which I’m sure all of you have already seen. The clip I watched is below, and it is the actual commentary and race. This morning I woke up to find her name all over the news pages, and various versions of the video, with her warm up routine in slow-mo, and with crappy music playing in the background.
When I saw the video I thought she looked like a very cute teenager. Her warm-up was funny and wiggly, yes, but to me it seemed like a combination of some silly thing she does plus a bit of a nervous tic. She didn’t seem to be performing some sort of sexy dance routine. The girl next to her was slapping herself, which I’m sure serves a purpose, but to me seemed odder than Michelle’s actions. I think both girls were engaging in some sort of pre-race ritual, and nothing more.
She’s a pretty girl, is in amazing shape, and she’s at the freaking
Olympics IAAF World Junior Championship*. I would be doing the happy dance too if I were her. And then, to top it all off, she took those freaking hurdles like a damn gazelle. The moment she finished, a huge smile crossed her face, and she congratulated her competitors. Those are the things newscasters and sports shows should be discussing.
I’ve read a number of things recently about the oversexualization of female athletes. Frankly I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the oversexualization of women in general is and always has been a problem (and let’s face it, it isn’t one that’s going away anytime soon). On the other, I see these ‘sexy Olympian photo shoots’ as a way of saying that powerful and athletic women are sexy too. I’d rather see a female athlete in a sultry pose on a magazine cover than a vapid reality ‘star’. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication to be a professional athlete. Reality stars? Not so much.
As for Jenneke, it’s a little different. She didn’t sign up for a photo shoot, she was just doing her thing. And then she killed it, so good for her.