Competitive Swimming Should Be Done Nude

If you watched any of the Olympic swimming events this past summer, all of the talk was about the advanced swimming pool the Chinese had built and the new seamless Speedo LZR swimwear.  The commentators suggested this combination of factors was behind the fantastic speeds the swimmers were able to achieve.

Today I read that 15 nations are complaining that swimwear needs to be regulated. As you saw during the Olympics, almost all of the athletes were wearing the Speedo LZR.  So they broke a bunch of records.  Obviously the LZR is superior, but if everyone is wearing it then does it really make any difference?  Every competitive swimsuit that came before it was trying to optimize the athlete’s performance… this one just does it better.  Trying to regulate swimwear seems like an absurd idea.

I think we’ve forgotten something.  The focus should be on the athletes, not their equipment.  The Ancient Olympic Games some 2000 years ago were always done nude.  Why?  Because the Olympics were meant to celebrate the achievements of the human body.

The ancient Greeks were obviously were not prudes.  Let’s take a page from history and simultaneously shed our vestigial Victorian values.  Remove swimwear from the equation entirely; everyone’s on equal footing when they’re wearing their birthday suit.  Then there’s absolutely nothing for the bureaucrats to regulate.

The cynic in me says that corporate interests, not morality, is what would really kill such an idea.  How can Speedo sell more swimsuits if their logo isn’t all over the competitive swimmers, or without Olympians to act as spokespeople for their brands?  The athletes, unfortunately, rely on corporate funding and sponsorship in order to compete.

© 2008 http://talkinghead.ca

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8 Responses to Competitive Swimming Should Be Done Nude

  1. J says:

    When I read the title (before reading the whole blog) my initial reaction was to say, whoa. No way. Swimsuits are meant to “streamline” the “not-so-streamlined” human body.

    And then I read your blog, and it’s convincing:the Olympics celebrate the human body, so why let technology get in the way (particularly if everyone is using the same technology).

    But alas reality sets in: morality and (as you point out) corporate sponsorship. Companies want to make their money. I doubt tattooing “SPEEDO” on someone’s ass cheek would have the same effect.

  2. DV says:

    Standardized clothing could raise the cost of participation and hence prohibit poorer countries from taking part.

    I vote for nude competitions. That seems most fair — especially in womens’ sports.

  3. […] Competitive Swimming Should Be Done Nude […]

  4. andrew garcia says:

    I had to swim nude for high school gym classes in Chicago long ago. I had no problem with it. In fact, it was cool to be able to see so many cute dudes naked for an extended period of time. I was also a swimmer (not very good) and we practiced in triple
    tanks suits or baggy trunks (at times, sweatsuits!) to enhance speed. You were faster once you got into tiny racer suits.
    Nude competitions would have been interesting, but certain mistakes, especially for the divers. would REALLY hurt.

  5. Dale G. says:

    I toally agree with this. I grow up with only a speedo and at the end I had jamers. These ne suit they are coming out with and can no longer use are getting out of hand. I still think that are is no wrong with some good old hard work and a good shaving party. I remember have shaving parties when i was yonger. Going out to a kids or coaches house having pasta and shaving our legs and arms and stuff.
    I had a hand me down suit for the OHIO U. mens swim team. They got those suits for free because they are there sponsores. I felt like i was wearing a lot of money witch I was, but the suit didnt work at all. It just made me feel like I was going slower which i was. I agree that we need to take a step back and look at the time are we making and thing is it the suits or is it the swimmers.

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