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philoswimmer
July 27th, 2012, 04:38 PM
Does the public have the right to criticize an Olympianís weight?

Seems to me that the obvious answer is "no," but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/does-the-public-have-the-right-to-criticize-an-olympians-weight/article4443506/

knelson
July 27th, 2012, 05:35 PM
I'd say yes. She looks terrible, to be perfectly honest. But, hey, she made the team so she certainly deserves to be there!

gdanner
July 27th, 2012, 05:40 PM
Does the public have the right to criticize an Olympian’s weight?

Seems to me that the obvious answer is "no," but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/does-the-public-have-the-right-to-criticize-an-olympians-weight/article4443506/

The photo from 2008 was waist up, so it wasn't even a good comparison.

But it would seem they're trying to assess how she will perform based on her weight. Athletes are judged for their physique in many sports, so I'd say that it's not out of bounds. It could definitely be a distraction for her, so it's not very useful to point it out now. If she doesn't swim well, I think it is a valid critique to be made after the fact.

Allen Stark
July 27th, 2012, 05:44 PM
Not just no but :censor: NO!!!!! Heck,coaches criticizing a female athletes weight is a problem more often than not.
While we are on the topic of idiot media,it galls me how people who have no idea what competition means make such inane statements as"you don't win silver,you lose gold." A silver Olympic medal is a much bigger accomplishment than what those people will likely ever do.

Chris Stevenson
July 27th, 2012, 05:53 PM
Does the public/press have the *right* to do so? Sure. Armchair athletes/coaches the world over do it all the time, usually with very little insight or merit. I guess in an odd way I'm glad that Australia is passionate enough about the sport of swimming to care.

Is it incredibly rude and ungrateful for her countrymen to criticize her right before the games, given all that she's done? Most definitely!

I dunno, maybe she won't medal this time. But she was good enough to make one of the best Olympic swim teams in the world, obviously she deserves a lot more respect.

philoswimmer
July 27th, 2012, 06:02 PM
Does the public/press have the *right* to do so? Sure. Armchair athletes/coaches the world over do it all the time, usually with very little insight or merit. I guess in an odd way I'm glad that Australia is passionate enough about the sport of swimming to care.

Is it incredibly rude and ungrateful for her countrymen to criticize her right before the games, given all that she's done? Most definitely!

I dunno, maybe she won't medal this time. But she was good enough to make one of the best Olympic swim teams in the world, obviously she deserves a lot more respect.

Good point, Chris. The question was ill-formed -- I simply stole the headline from an article. A better question would be "Should the public criticize an Olympian's weight?" Then it becomes more clearly a question of ethics or etiquette rather than a legal question.

The proof will be how well she swims. If she swims well, then her weight is irrelevant. If she doesn't swim well, then some will say it is her weight, but as we all know there can be many contributing factors. Saying it is her weight would just be speculation.

It seems to me that this is just another excuse to obsess over a female's weight, to stare at her pictures and think we have the right (there is that word again) to be sitting in judgement. The same thing that happens with actresses and singers who gain weight.

Celestial
July 27th, 2012, 06:03 PM
Poor Leisel! She may be heavier than she would like, but it doesn't seem to be slowing her down, does it? I have had some pretty hefty women clock me on the tennis courts and in the swimming pool as well - so we have no right to judge her athletic abilities on her figure. Some people actually perform better at heavier weights (wish that was me. . . ) and find it very difficult to control their appetite when exercising so strenuously all the dang time! Female athletes have enough image problems and concurrent eating disorders as it is.
It's never nice to comment on someone's weight, but fortunately, we still have some semblance of freedom of speech in this country. Maybe not for much longer, but we do have it. That doesn't mean we shouldn't exercise tact, however.

knelson
July 27th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Here are a few names: Babe Ruth, Shaquille O'Neal, George Foreman, Pablo Sandoval, William Perry, John Daly. All professional athletes who have been criticized for their weight. I think there's an expectation that pros athletes should not look like most of their workout sessions were conducted at Krispy Kreme. I don't think Leisel Jones should get a free pass because she's a woman.


Poor Leisel! She may be heavier than she would like, but it doesn't seem to be slowing her down, does it?

Actually, yes. She's considerably slower now than she was at her peak. Her personal best in the 100 breast is 1:05.09 (from 2006). Her best time this year is 1:07.37, but let's wait to see how she does next week!

philoswimmer
July 27th, 2012, 06:16 PM
I don't think Leisel Jones should get a free pass because she's a woman.


Who has suggested that?

knelson
July 27th, 2012, 06:19 PM
Who has suggested that?

Nobody, yet, but my point is why is this a story considering how many male professional athletes have been criticized for their weight?

philoswimmer
July 27th, 2012, 06:28 PM
Nobody, yet, but my point is why is this a story considering how many male professional athletes have been criticized for their weight?

Perhaps it was wrong for them to be criticized as well.

Celestial
July 27th, 2012, 06:28 PM
not very useful to point it out now. If she doesn't swim well, I think it is a valid critique to be made after the fact.

But, hey, she made the team so she certainly deserves to be there!

OK, she's slower than she was 4 years ago. She can probably still beat US to the wall. She's 27/28 years old, making her 4th Olympic team - I think women have a harder time with their weight than men do. Not that there aren't some heiffers with xy chromosomes in sports as well, but for some reason, they are seemingly more emotionally resilient about it. I'm sure she is well aware of her weight, well aware of her times & her medal chances. Perhaps instead of criticizing her for something she obviously is having a problem with, we should focus on the positive?

Celestial
July 27th, 2012, 06:30 PM
Perhaps it was wrong for them to be criticized as well.

Good point.

quicksilver
July 27th, 2012, 06:42 PM
Edit...Ok compared to a few years ago, there's a few extra pounds on her frame. Still, it's really absurd to make comments about her size.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/london-games/twitter-storm-follows-leisel-jones-criticism/story-fne3a96w-1226434764662


If there's any criticism to be done how about starting here. 354 pounds isn't just a little bit big boned. Albeit in Mangold's case it's probably helping her.
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/sports/2012/03/05/mangold-lifts-way-to-london-games.html

gdanner
July 27th, 2012, 06:54 PM
She can probably still beat US to the wall.

Bear in mind, just because someone is one of the best in the world doesn't make them immune from critiques. She receives sponsorship money, so she is held accountable for her performance.

It's no different than when I attend a NFL game and comment on a player's abilities. It doesn't matter whether or not I can play professional football...I'm paying for a product and if it doesn't live up to my expectation, I have every right to voice my concern.

It's a little different here because competitors aren't paid through tv deals and such, but I don't agree with the concept that you can't criticize someone just because they are better/faster. After all, none of the coaches are faster than their swimmers and they critique them all the time!

philoswimmer
July 27th, 2012, 07:11 PM
Bear in mind, just because someone is one of the best in the world doesn't make them immune from critiques. She receives sponsorship money, so she is held accountable for her performance.

It's no different than when I attend a NFL game and comment on a player's abilities. It doesn't matter whether or not I can play professional football...I'm paying for a product and if it doesn't live up to my expectation, I have every right to voice my concern.

It's a little different here because competitors aren't paid through tv deals and such, but I don't agree with the concept that you can't criticize someone just because they are better/faster. After all, none of the coaches are faster than their swimmers and they critique them all the time!

But it's not her performance that is being criticized, or even the amount of training that she's done. It's how she looks. Remember, that is all that is anyone is going on: photos.

And the idea that a woman's looks are a product that you pay for is, well, a little nauseating. I realize that such things happen all the time, but I would not have thought it to be true of Olympic athletes.

knelson
July 27th, 2012, 08:36 PM
But it's not her performance that is being criticized, or even the amount of training that she's done. It's how she looks.

Sort of, but she looks out of shape, and that's what people are criticizing. There's an assumption--and it could be wrong--that if you look out of shape then you haven't been training very hard.

sickfish
July 27th, 2012, 08:50 PM
One of my favorite sayings about Masters swimming (that I made up) is that there's always a fat guy ten years older than you who will blow you out of the water. When that 43-year-old fat guy drops a 49 in a 100 free, and I come in with a 52, I don't suggest that he lose weight.

It's normal (but rude and shallow and ignorant) for Joe NBC Viewer to expect all of the athletes to be Adonis-like (or whatever the female equivalent of Adonis is called) and to complain when they don't meet his standards. As Masters swimmers, all of whom have been beaten by that supposedly out-of-shape guy or gal, we should know better.

I think we can all refrain from giving smug advice until we're faster than she is.

[So, who is faster than she is? Apparently no women at USMS Nationals this year, and only four men, assuming I can count and compare numbers properly. Her best time this year would have placed sixth at the US Olympic Trials. So, basically, almost nobody is faster than she is. If she's doing something wrong, the rest of us are doing a lot more of it.]

Bobinator
July 27th, 2012, 09:44 PM
Lol! Read John Feinstein's new Olympic swimmer book "Mystery At The Olympics, Rush For The Gold" The story is about this unfair attention and sponsorships given to extremely great looking athletes. The book is about 4th-5th grade reading level so you can get through it quickly. It was a little hoky but I enjoyed it and am adding it to my injured student's library.

I think it's in poor taste to publicly discuss an athlete or any public figures weight issues. If Leisel asks for our opinion it would be okay to give it, otherwise it's not up for discussion. I assume Leisel has been sent to London to swim as fast as she can, not be a swimsuit model.

philoswimmer
July 27th, 2012, 11:21 PM
Sort of, but she looks out of shape, and that's what people are criticizing. There's an assumption--and it could be wrong--that if you look out of shape then you haven't been training very hard.

Yeah? You look at the comments on some of these news sites, and people are cluck-clucking about the cellulite on her thighs. I mean really.

E=H2O
July 28th, 2012, 12:13 AM
No, but I think she probably would get better results if she lost the extra baggage. In the alternative she should get into cold water marathon swimming where her build would be perfect. Nothing wrong with a little bioprene when water temperatures drop below 60į

knelson
July 28th, 2012, 12:22 AM
Yeah? You look at the comments on some of these news sites, and people are cluck-clucking about the cellulite on her thighs. I mean really.

My theory is reading the comments on any story--no matter how seemingly mundane--will make your blood boil. Seriously, you'd be amazed what people can complain about and criticize.

Allen Stark
July 28th, 2012, 01:18 AM
Given the cultural problem of poor body image among girls and the high incidence of eating disorders among female athletes a comment about a female Olympian being fat is,in my mind,more egregious than a typical criticism.

__steve__
July 28th, 2012, 06:58 AM
Do we have the right to anything so long as we're still responsible for what is said (in its context)?

orca1946
July 31st, 2012, 01:37 AM
Nobody that swims & loses to her said that !!!
If anyone can make the olympic field then a lot of hard work went into it to make it.

Lui
July 31st, 2012, 07:25 AM
Is it a model competition or the Olympics? I think the results should count.

gobears
July 31st, 2012, 08:12 AM
And the idea that a woman's looks are a product that you pay for is, well, a little nauseating. I realize that such things happen all the time, but I would not have thought it to be true of Olympic athletes.

Isn't this why women's beach volleyball is played in skimpy bikinis while the men have shirts and long shorts?

Chris Stevenson
July 31st, 2012, 08:19 AM
Isn't this why women's beach volleyball is played in skimpy bikinis while the men have shirts and long shorts?

I think this year for the first time the bikinis aren't required. I agree that it is pretty pathetic that they ever were.

ElaineK
July 31st, 2012, 08:37 AM
I think this year for the first time the bikinis aren't required. I agree that it is pretty pathetic that they ever were.

Chris, it has been too cold to wear bikinis! Last night, the gals were all covered in long sleeves and long pants.

swimmieAvsFan
July 31st, 2012, 08:43 AM
I think this year for the first time the bikinis aren't required. I agree that it is pretty pathetic that they ever were.


Chris, it has been too cold to wear bikinis! Last night, the gals were all covered in long sleeves and long pants.

The only reason they're actually in shirts/pants this year is because there was a rule change that allowed it. Prior to this year, the required uniform for women's beach volleyball was a bikini, regardless of weather conditions. Apparently it was a big deal to their governing body (FIVB?) to make the change. If the rule change hadn't passed, they'd still be in bikinis, even in 40į weather. Thankfully sanity won out, rather than ratings...

ElaineK
July 31st, 2012, 08:53 AM
The only reason they're actually in shirts/pants this year is because there was a rule change that allowed it. Prior to this year, the required uniform for women's beach volleyball was a bikini, regardless of weather conditions. Apparently it was a big deal to their governing body (FIVB?) to make the change. If the rule change hadn't passed, they'd still be in bikinis, even in 40į weather. Thankfully sanity won out, rather than ratings...

I had no idea bikinis were actually required in the past. That is :censor: crazy! :bitching: So, yes, I agree; thankfully sanity finally prevailed!

ande
July 31st, 2012, 12:45 PM
Not a fair comparison. They're comparing a tech suit pic with one of her in a training suit with exposed legs.

Writing negative articles about a female swimmers weight & shape is a super touchy subject. I don't think anyone other than the swimmer & her docs should be concerned with her weight & physical shape. A woman's weight and shape can affect her self esteem or lack there of. It's mean & hurtful to show those pics & drag her through the mud. Leilsel should shoot pics of that writer, the editors, publishers & owners the pub that ran it.

At UT in the 80's a couple coaches used to weigh the female swimmers & punish those they felt were over weight. The team roster brochure used to list height & weight. For some swimmers it lead to eating disorders & low self esteem. It's psychologically damaging. It doesn't make swimming fun.

There are rules and guidelines about what coaches can and can't say or do about their swimmers weight.

I do believe that men & women should have suit equality & I'm fine either way.

__steve__
July 31st, 2012, 01:28 PM
In swimming, having a look of a model selling plank in another core article of a fitness magazine does not determine the medal. Whoever swims the best does.

aquajock
August 3rd, 2012, 10:55 AM
Does the public have the right to criticize an Olympianís weight?

Seems to me that the obvious answer is "no," but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/does-the-public-have-the-right-to-criticize-an-olympians-weight/article4443506/

No, it's just damaging to women who already have body image issues. Most female swimmers aren't super lean like some other athletes. I was actually pretty happy to shuck my size 12 shoulders after I stopped swimming in college and trimmed down. But now as a masters swimmer, I can't swim fly worth a damn because I've lost buoyancy and shoulder strength. So to me it's really all about what weight works best for what you are comfortable with vs. you want to accomplish.

knelson
August 3rd, 2012, 11:10 AM
In swimming, having a look of a model selling plank

What the heck is plank?

__steve__
August 3rd, 2012, 12:17 PM
It's one of the newer abdominal exercises, pushup position held with forearms on the ground instead of palms. Hold for about 5 minutes

knelson
August 3rd, 2012, 01:06 PM
OK. I knew about that exercise, just didn't know anyone was trying to sell it :)

Sojerz
August 9th, 2012, 02:06 PM
Interesting thread on NPR discussing body size evolution for various olmpic events:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/09/158448224/olympic-bodies-they-just-dont-make-them-like-they-used-to

"Swimmers are taller and heavier than most olympians"; males setting WR in the 100 have increased in body length from 5'-8" to 6'-8" and increased sprint speed from about 4 mph to 4.75 mph.

orca1946
August 9th, 2012, 04:19 PM
I just notices wt lifting has wt divisions but does not announce wt.
Water polo & vollyball for women said the ladies wts! What gives?

Rob Copeland
August 9th, 2012, 05:21 PM
"Swimmers are taller and heavier than most olympians"I guess it depends on the sport. There are a lot of large/tall basketball and volleyball players. And Ricardo Blas Jr in judo (6í1Ē, 480lbs) outweighs some relay teams.

And I will not criticize his weight:bolt: