Synchronized Swimming – Respect

I caught a bit of the Synchronized Swimming this week – I can’t tell you the last time I watched it. Like most gals, I spent a fair amount of time in the backyard pool practising my synchro moves with my sister, and like most people, a fair bit of time scoffing at its claim of being a “sport.” But it is a sport in my mind now, and after watching both the doubles and the team efforts – CRIKEY it looks bloody hard!! The Russians are the Queens of the sport without question, with the Spanish delivering very entertaining and dramatic performances, but the Chinese girls too – very good.

The Russian Champs in the Double
Photo courtesy of www.london2012.comsynchronized-swimming

Some observations:
  • It must be a really really challenging sport to get good at, because you’ve got to spend a lot of time under the water, upside down, practising your moves. I mean, you can imagine the hours a swimmer does in the early mornings and evenings swimming back and forth, or the cyclist riding miles and miles every day, but a synchronized swimmer has a whole different kind of tedium to get through to be the best
  • These girls have the best swimsuits in the world BY FAR! I’ve never seen so much glitz and glam on a bathing suit in my life – not to mention the head caps and dramatic make-up – which is apparently done boldly in an effort to ensure those in the back row can see it
  • The smiles – have you ever seen anything like it? They must get jaw cramp pulling those off in every performance
  • These gals are slender, which isn’t surprising considering the physical effort required to do their moves, but there wasn’t a chubby checker in site. It’s a whole different kind of physique when compared to just about any other sport in the Olympics, and as opposite as one can be to the 75+ kilo women’s weightlifters
  • It must be a weird kind of sport when most of the photos taken in your prime are with a nose peg on. I obviously understand the need for one, and nose pegs have come a long way over the years, but it is a strange thing to look at
  • If not already, the makers of eye drops should be sponsoring the hell out of this sport. No goggles are allowed and they certainly can’t do it with their eyes closed. I can only imagine the state of the girl’s eyes after every practise session. That mustn’t be  much fun

There are officially only two female only sports at the Olympics these days – Synchronized Swimming  and Rhythmic Gymnastics. Softball was in for a while but then out again. Netball has never made the cut – which is a shame as Australia or NZ would win that! In fact, this Wiki page discusses the Olympics and women, which is a bit of a sober read I have to say. Surely with more women than men in some of the dominant teams these days we can start seeing some real change? Is sport really going to remain a bastion of sexism? Well Women Boxing is finally included, but I reckon we’ve all got to keep fighting for the sisterhood to ensure any great woman – with the heart to compete for an Olympic medal – has the bloody chance to do it.

I definitely don’t agree with this article (written after the Beijing Olympics) that both Synchronized Swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastics should be out. Sure it’s a little bit different to the other Olympic sports, but for the sake of the girls who take it seriously, they should hold onto the chance to compete at Olympic level. Let’s fight for more equality in all sports, but let’s not do that by taking something away from girls who have earned their place at the Olympics – no matter how weird the sport OR its historical relevance. Celebrate it all I say.

In the meantime, the team Synchronized Swimming ‘own choice’ is on today. I can definitely recommend having a look. It’s very entertaining in a weird, squirmy kind of way….

Yours, without the bollocks

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