The Olympic female beach volleyball competition at London 2012 attracted lots of attention. But, rather than athletic ability, most people seemed to be discussing the bikinis the competitors wore.
It’s surely no coincidence that interest in the tournament from men ran very high, with Norman Lamont and Prince Harry among the spectators. Reportedly David Cameron and Tony Blair also hinted they wanted tickets
The activity made its Olympic debut in 1996, and, since then, it has sometimes struggled to be taken seriously as an international sport.
But the players say they like wearing bikinis – and, after all, beach culture gave rise to their sport. Equally, what is wrong with their taking pride in their athletic physiques which they have worked on so hard?
And beach volleyball is actually the only sport of the Games in which the ladies dominate. It’s a fast-paced game requiring jumping, diving and running in the sand. Tactical decisions are made in a split second. But, at the same time it does not take itself too seriously.
So in truth there should be no incompatibility between beach volleyball’s sometimes raunchy image and the reality of the tough physical work involved for the players.
Equally, no-one ever seems to comment on female track athletes, who also often look as if they are running in their lingerie!
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