I have not been following the Olympics with my usual fervor. Still….
I was disconcerted that, during the opening ceremonies (which were way too long — or at least NBC’s broadcast of them, which was of course bloated with probably an hour of commercials), the musical segment included “Eclipse,” the last track from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I would think that, given all of the richness of British rock and roll to choose from, Danny Boyle would have steered clear of something from an album about a man having a complete mental breakdown, but then that’s just me, I guess.
If the women’s beach volleyball provides ogling opportunities, so does the men’s diving. There’s a certain rough gender equity at work there.
They have sponsorships for everything: there was a kerfluffle when an Australian tweeted a picture of a bucket of condoms at the Olympic Village. The problem was not that the condoms were there at all, but that they were the wrong brand. Personally, I think Durex must have been behind this — I mean, how many people knew there was an official Olympic condom supplier before this broke? My favorite factoid from that story was that in Beijing in 2008 the condoms were imprinted with the Olympic motto: “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Oh, my.
And finally, on a more sombre note, it appears that when it comes to women athletes and the perception of the public, it is not enough to be fit enough to be an Olympic athlete, you also have to be thin. It boggles my mind that anyone could ever question the fitness of an Olympic weightlifter, soccer player, or heptathlete. (Do people not have any idea of what those sports entail, especially at the Olympic level?) And Leisel Jones: she is a gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer for Australia, one of the world’s powerhouse swimming programs. You don’t think she beat out a host of hungry competition to make it to the London Games? And a newspaper questioned her fitness? Outrageous. This irrational scrutiny is not only wrong but dangerous: we are warning young girls away from activities that enrich and prolong their lives. It’s sad.