Is sex really the way to sell the Olympics?
By Rebecca McLeod
We’ve all seen (and discussed) the images. That picture of the beach volleyball team in Parliament Square reminding us all about busy roads during Olympic season(!), Victoria Pendleton in various states of dress and undress in Esquire, Zara Dampney’s naked leap for GQ Magazine… I could go on…
But what does it all mean? And what are we supposed to think?
The PR person in me is applauding the great coverage in magazines and media that wouldn’t traditionally cover the Olympics. Not to mention the brilliance of the link between beach volleyball players ‘stopping traffic’ and Olympic road safety.
Part of me agrees with Sarah Ditum who points out that naked athletes make better pin-ups than ‘naturally skinny’ celebs in her article for The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ today.
But a large part of me just feels a bit ‘sad inside’ about it all. And yes, I’ll admit it… in some ways let down.
I mean, do we really need the nakedness?
Olympic fever is starting to sweep the nation after all. The torch relay seems to be a hit everywhere it goes (and it’s been everywhere), Team GB is making daily headlines with team selections and athletes picking up their kit… so what’s with the naked thing?
It’s not just the female athletes doing it… the men have got stuck in too. The Olympic hockey team got their kit off for a charity recently (garnering admiring looks in our office). And male and female sports stars have been pin ups for years in one guise or another.
I think if I’m honest, the thing that’s making me ‘sad inside’ is that this is the Olympics. Of all sporting events, surely the Olympics should attempt to project itself as wholesome? Isn’t the Olympic dream all about things like ‘taking part’ and amazing feats of human endurance and skill?
Maybe it’s just me, but I would rather Team GB were remembered for their sporting achievements at London 2012, rather than their toned and bronzed bodies. That’s one part of the Olympic dream I would like to keep alive.
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