Friday, June 29, 2012

Olympic Athletes

I am really excited about the Olympics. I've been watching trials in track and swimming. I've even written about them a few times. One of those was talking about athletes who have been called fat, even though they have little to no body fat. Yesterday, I read about some female Olympians who have BMIs that make them obese. Because of that, they're not really appealing to sponsors. They also compete in weightlifting, which doesn't really get the media exposure of swimming, gymnastics or track. This means that instead of making buckets of money like Michael Phelps, they're living week to week.

This is Sarah Robles who has a motto of "Pretty Strong" and "Beauty is Strength" I admire her strength. She can lift almost 300 pounds. She also weighs about 300 pounds. That does not mean she's not an athlete. In fact, she is not alone in being an Olympic Athlete who is a woman around 300 pounds. I've written about another American Olympic Weightlifter in the past. Here's a clearer picture of Olympic Bronze Medalist Cheryl Haworth and one of a male athlete of similar proportions:

Both have similar body fat percentages and weights. We have been conditioned to accept his body as one of an athlete, but not hers. The standards for men are clearly shown to us for our entire lives. TV shows have reinforced it for generations. From "The Honeymooners" to "King of Queens" the hot wife and overweight husband dynamic has been shown to all of us. I'm not saying that overweight men should only date overweight women. I just think these shows, and others like them, set up unrealistic expectations for women, and possibly unhealthy ones for men. (Jackie Gleason was hardly athletic; he sat all day long as a bus driver.)
I hope that these weightlifting women can get recognition for their athleticism, despite not fitting into a size 4. I know that they have inspired me to lift heavier weights more often and to watch weightlifting in addition to running.

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