Olympian Leisel Jones Receives Undue Attention For Her Weight
The Olympics, though full of athletes with chiseled physiques, is not a beauty pageant. It was received with great scrutiny and anger when various media reports ridiculed Australian swimmer Leisel Jones on her body. However, in true Olympic form, Jones took the journalist’s harsh words and turned them into fuel. With this, Jones pursues her ninth medal, and is working to reclaim her title as the world’s best woman breaststroker.
One reporter commented on her “fitness,” and how her figure is in “stark contrast” to her body from the last Olympics in 2008. Apparently a woman’s body is not supposed to change over the course of four years. The comments included nothing about her capabilities, winnings, pursuits, or even that she’s a quirky woman who likes fashion. No, her “overweight” body became the basis of her character. One should note that it’s the same body that has won her eight medals throughout her Olympic career.
Her weight has not hindered her from competing, so why the backlash? It seems like any woman who steps into the limelight is sure to expect undue remarks about their physical appearance (because how dare you enter the public eye without achieving a flawless aesthetic presence first). To do it to an Olympic athlete is especially juvenile, considering how hard they work just to qualify.
Jones was not fazed by the comments, and even thanked the writer because she received so much support after the remarks had been published. Her sophisticated response suggests that she does not live by ridiculous societal expectations, which is incredible inspiration for women. Says Jones, “I am here to swim in the pool, I don’t swim in the papers. I’m here to do my job and I know what my job is and I hope to do it very well and make Australia proud.”
Image courtesy of Australian Post
Jones is not the only one being called out on her weight this year. The Brazilian women footballers have received a lot of negative comments about their physique, being called “too heavy” and flat out “fat.” Female weightlifters don’t receive as much sponsorship as the thinner, lean athletes. The public slammed the appearance of the British women’s volleyball team, claiming that they had hoped they would be “better looking” and “fitter.” Despite all of this, these women qualified to compete in the Olympics. I see a pattern here so loud that not even Nicki Minaj would wear it.
Image courtesy of Jamie Sabau, Getty Images
While many like to admire (and apparently critique) the strong and capable bodies of Olympic athletes, remember that what these women are achieving goes far beyond their physique.
What do you think of the harsh focus put on the bodies of female athletes? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.
Written by Leah Moreno