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SBD Global/July 31, 2012/Olympics
Life's A Beach: Volleyball, Bikinis, Cheerleaders Are Attracting A Crowd
Published July 31, 2012
ITSY BITSY, TEENY WEENY...: In Chicago, David Haugh asked, “How were baseball and softball eliminated as Olympic sports before the 2012 Games while beach volleyball was bumped into a prime-time television slot back home? Why do you think the pretty, ponytailed U.S. team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings didn't start its match until the ridiculous hour of 11 p.m. locally? Everybody knows the answer to both questions is money.” Haugh: “Feel free to divvy up blame between NBC and the International Olympic Committee for the ratings monster they have created since beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996 -- or credit them if you enjoy a recreational sport loosening up the Olympics. Indeed, it can be enjoyable to watch, and this was a fun, frolicking way to spend a Saturday night abroad.” The emphasis on “bikinis and prime-time TV perhaps benefits the popularity of the game but not the integrity of the sport.” Haugh: “To objectify female Olympians diminishes their athletic ability” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/29).
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING: London Mayor Boris Johnson in a special to the London TELEGRAPH wrote a list of the 20 things Londoners can be proud about of the Olympics so far. He wrote, "As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers" (TELEGRAPH, 7/30).
TAKE COVER?: In N.Y., Frank Isola noted the “frigid weather even forced the participants in the day’s final match to alter their outfits” Saturday. All four players in the U.S.-Australia match “wore sports tops with sleeves to stay warm.” The Australian team “wore tights while May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings kept to their California roots by wearing bikini bottoms.” May-Treanor said, “We warmed up with pants, but Kerri said she was getting hot so we took off our pants” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/29). The AP’s Jimmy Golen noted two-piece swimsuits have “long been the standard attire in the sport.” Players say the “skimpy clothes allow less room for sand to get underneath and chafe.” But int'l rules have “long allowed women to wear warmer clothes when the temperature drops" (AP, 7/28).