Thursday, August 26, 2004
The Nude Olympians
In ancient Greece, the Olympic athletes competed in the nude. Today, with the Olympics being held in the celestial city of Athens, Greece, athlete are returning to this fine tradition. As I've been watching the Olympic broadcast the last couple of days, it occurs to me that the athletes are showing a lot of skin these days.
Case in point: women's beach volleyball. Sure, you could play this sport in shorts and a T-shirt, but that just won't be as riveting as two girls jumping around in the sand wearing bikinis.
Then there is the women's triathlon. It just doesn't seem like riding a bike in a swimsuit is such a great idea, but these athletes didn't seem to mind. Men athletes are enjoying the freedom too. Lycra abounds in wrestling and gymnastics, along with the track and field events. I predict more sports will join the act. We'll see tennis players, soccer teams, and entire baseball leagues setting aside their bulky uniforms in favor of flesh-clinging slinglets.
Some may say this is a revival of an old and noble ancient tradition. Others may say it has evolved out of practicality. The form-fitting lycra does not constrain movement or cause wind resistance. Or, perhaps, it's just for show. What is a sport, after all, if not entertainment?
As I composed this entry, I felt pretty witty and original. But apparently, I'm not the only one who's witnessed this trend. NPR recently did a radio story called "A Case for the Naked Olympics."