When I saw the synch-swimming finals in Atlanta (Cheap Seats, 8/16), I was astounded at how the sport had advanced. Yes, it still carried some vestiges of its showbiz, Esther Williams roots—proudly and unself-consciously, which I found both courageous and endearing. (And my eyes just about gasped with pleasure at the ’40s-style, one-piece swimsuits—what a welcome break from the souped-up, breast-flattening Speedo aesthetic.)
The gold- and silver-medal performances by the U.S. and Canadian synch teams were nothing short of breathtaking. Nowhere in the Olympics did I see a more impressive display of sustained, intricate teamwork, sheer athleticism, and beauty. What I too had expected to enjoy affectionately, as a piece of cornball quasi-sport by plucky gals, totally knocked my socks off.
So when I see a piece like Dave McKenna’s, I wonder what’s going on. Not a real sport? What makes jumping over a stick or hitting someone a real sport, and precision movement through water not a real sport? Is this a gender-war, envy thing? At any rate, McKenna’s focus on warmed-over naysaying—and complete ignoring of athletic performance that has reached a level nothing short of fabulous—is lazy, out of time, and silly.
Or should I just say, c’mon guys! Yes, a showbiz movie babe invented a sport! Get over it! Or better yet, come on in. I suspect boys could be just as cool, in their own ways, doing this stuff. Beats boxing and Bosnia.
Takoma Park, Md.
via the Internet