The 2012 London Olympics is now in full swing, and has brought lots of talk of medals, team spirit and a national pride with the proceedings. However amongst all the joy and camaraderie, the 2012 London Olympics have also weighed in on issues to do with body and size, which has caused a bit of a storm within the UK media.
It all started when Commonwealth heptathlon champion, Louise Hazel addmitted to “disgraceful” remarks about her weight by senior figure in UK Athletics. This news came just a day after the UK’s Olympic poster girl, Jessica Ennis had also been criticised for her size.
The story printed in The Telegraph reported that Toni Minichiello, Ennis’s long-term coach disclosed that
a “high-ranking person” within UK Athletics had said of Ennis: “She’s fat and she’s got too much weight.” Ennis, who is 5ft 5in, weighs 8st 13lb.
The 5ft 6in Louise Hazel weighs just 8st 11lb, and who along with Ennis had already qualified to complete in the 2012 London Olympics before the controversy kicked off went on to say
“I have experienced it first hand, also from people within the organisation that was supposed to be supporting us, and I just think to a certain extent it is very disgraceful… I think more than anything it’s just ignorance. I just think it is a shame that those issues of females and their weight is dealt with in a negative way, as opposed to support in a positive way.”
The issue of weight isn’t just a one-off comment. Before the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony had taken place, a 5-0 defeat on the football field so that beginning of a cat fight.
Following the Cameroon team’s 5-0 defeat against the Brazilian squad, Cameroon coach Enow Ngachu publicly criticised their South American opponents for being overweight. Speaking to The Telegraph, Ngachu went on record to say
“Brazil are the favourites and they have nearly all the best players in the world…but there are other quality teams in this tournament, like North Korea and the USA. Brazil need to improve their defensive system and their players look a bit heavy to me – that might be a problem for them as well. I know we are going to play better and better and that’s the only answer everyone needs to know.”
Jorge Barcellos, the shocked Brazilian women’s coach responded by saying
“As for the players being too heavy, they all work hard on their body fat and they move quickly enough and are playing very well.”
If we were Barcellos though, we would have got in a few digs about sour grapes and losing 5-0!
Of course we can’t talk about the Olympics and weight issues without mentioning the Beach Volleyball Team. With their skimpy outfits, it was inevitable that there was going to be a running commentary on their appearance, whether it was objectifying the women or ripping their appearances to shreds.
The Daily Mail ran a 2012 London Olympics publicity story which focused on the Team GB female beach volleyball team, and although the article is light-hearted, some of the comments are utterly horrendous.
“This just sums up this pitful country, we can’t even get some decent looking women for our volleyball team, We are just one big laughing stock at whatever we do, whether that be building aircraft carriers and planes that can actually fly on them without melting them,or getting some decent eye candy for the one interesting event at the olympics. How did they find them, went to the local student union bar and bag some of the ladies rugger team ? One of them doesn’t look like she could run a decent distance without passing out.” Dan, London.
“Bubble burst. In my shallow mind I had hoped that the womens beach volleyball team would be athletic and beautiful. They do just look like average girls who don’t care much for physical fitness. Sorry, but it’s true.” cnb, Norwich.
“Wow… just… just, wow. On the one hand we have a sportswoman like Jessica Ennis who is absolutely radiantly beautiful, and then we have these four he/she things who are just… well, poles apart. Diametric opposites. These four should just hide in a burlap sack, then we can tie the tops and throw them into the Thames. That would be more fun than watching them lurch around.” Ken, Kent.
“If the athletes had nice bodies maybe their would not be the complains about skimpy outfits . In case of these females they should be wearing track suits!!!!” Telstar, Bromley.
Of course it’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and make hurtful comments, with people taking to newspapers, blogs and social media to attack the very people who are currently out there clocking up the medals. It’s refreshing to know that there are people who wholeheartedly disagree with these internet bullies.
“I can’t believe that people on here are making negative body comments about these athletes. These girls bodies are fit, healthy, efficient and perform exactly how they need to for their sport. They are not models nor are they claiming to be, they have fantastic healthy bodies and you can guarantee they are super fit and strong. These should be the role models that young girls should aspire too, not the skinny, chain smoking, unhealthy celebrities that they often try to imitate. Come on people these are the girls we should be supporting, not giving them a complex about how they look. I can only imagine how they would feel if they read some of the comments. Why do we feel the need to be so negative about each other.” Amy, Kidderminster.
What’s your take on it all so far? Have you been following the 2012 London Olympics, and if so, what has been your favourite event so far? We were particularly amazed by the gymnastics, despite reading comments about their hair and make-up not being right. None of us are cool with hair scrunchies for everyday life, but the Olympics hardly qualifies as a normal event – and we were too astonished by their grace to comment on their accessories! We certainly don’t have those skills, and are in awe of everyone taking part.* = Lien partenaire