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The gold standard: Which Olympic sport offers the best eye candy?


With these thirtieth Olympic Games officially underway, it is once again time for me to appreciate nations coming together peacefully in the spirit of gamesmanship, to enjoy the competitions, to marvel at the dedication of the athletes… and to ogle young men with perfect bodies. I can’t help it. Every four years I turn into a randy objectifyer of men.

It all started innocently enough. As a kid I loved watching the Olympics, but over the years, though I still looked forward to the summer games, I had pretty much checked out of watching anything the US didn’t dominate except diving and women’s gymnastics. Until 2004. Like so many, I got sucked into the excitement of Michael Phelps and his attempt to beat the record of most medals won in a single Olympic games. I really did start watching men’s swimming to see a remarkable athlete dominate the sport. But it wasn’t long before I noticed that male swimmers had amazing bodies. Claudia and I were roommates at the time and we may have (okay definitely did) pause and rewind the coverage a few times for moments that had nothing to do with a close/exciting race. We were checking out their bodies. In fact, the only time I remember Claudia and I using the remote control that often was when we watched Reign of Fire and we kept rewinding the scene where Christian Bale and Mathew McConaughey fight topless (How, in the middle of England with a scorched sky did those boys get so tan? Not complaining). With the swimmers I was the worst of objectifyers because I wasn’t particularly attracted to the their faces. It was just their bodies.

Because Michael Phelps’ races were the prime time of prime time, there was always a lot of other stuff you had to watch to get to the swimming. Though I did have Tivo, I ended up watching a lot of other sports I hadn’t previously, and discovered that there was some seriously good bodies in other sports as well. I’ve always been a sucker for soccer players, but now I was checking out Beach Volleyball players, rowers, and water polo players (like swimming but with more balls in the pool. Sorry, but if I’m going lowbrow I figured I may as well go for the pyrite). The fact that Olympians have great bodies shouldn’t have come as a surprise since these are elite athletes in their prime. But I’d somehow missed that fact for years since I’d really only watched women’s sports except men’s gymnastics, and though male gymnasts are very strong, they’re way too short and squat for my taste.

Now I’m shameless. Watching the Olympics is like going to see Magic Mike. The only saving grace for my character is that for every new sport I started watching for the eye candy, I ended up getting into it and also enjoying the women’s competitions (though I’d be lying if I didn’t spend a little time, and possible pause and rewind, the female beach volleyball players because DAMN, those ladies’ bodies are amazing).

And so this first Monday of these Olympic games I ask you…

A Zeros Before the One Poll

What Olympic sport offers the best eye candy?

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3 Responses to “The gold standard: Which Olympic sport offers the best eye candy?”

  1. July 31, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Your niece is not old enough to appreciate the eye candy as her response to being told that water polo is a really tought sport was to say that obviously the difficult part was, “having to wear waterproof panties to play it.” She doesn’t seem to be a fan of speedos.

    • Megan Gray July 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      I’d so love to see the faces of the Water Polo players when told that they wear waterproof panties. That little girl cracks me up.

  2. Claudia Maittlen-Harris August 1, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Wait, can we please find more reasons to call men’s speedos waterproof panties?! I love it.

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