Thursday, February 23, 2006

I think I found a photograph of Sasha Cohen *not* making sexy eyes at the camera

I'm pretty sure she's not.

Anyway, I wanted to show that this post wasn't just another excuse to post a picture of her. Well, it is, but there's actual context this time.

Former ESPN soccer scribe Marc Connolly opines, "One of the reasons that Sasha Cohen makes it hard not to pull for her is because she's not afraid to say she's here to win the Gold Medal. She's not afraid to put herself out there. If she somehow falters on Thursday evening, I doubt she'll sound like her friend, Jeremy Bloom, and talk about how she isn't disappointed one bit."

I can't say I disagree, but I wouldn't say that's remotely close to being the driving reason, or one that's worth even mentioning.

For one thing, figure skating is a prestige sport at the Winter Games and a sport that Americans have actually cared about time after time - mostly because there has almost always been a gold medal contender from the US each time around. There is a history of giving a fuck about women's figure skating, which can't be said for speed skating or ski events. The top US contender in figure skating will always get press and love from the TV audience.

And there's the fact that she looks like a poor man's Natalie Portman and makes those sex eyes thing in every picture. Out of all the supposedly attractive Olympians, Sasha's probably the only one who might cause more than one guy to do a double take per city block.

It's not enough that she's good looking, of course. I mean, Maria Sharpova is attractive and all, but she's not that attractive. It's just that she's in a profession that involves wearing skirts and grunting heavily, but more importantly, she's half decent at her sport. Yeah, her good looks land her in Canon commercials and the SI swimsuit issue, but that shit ain't happening if she hadn't won the Wimbledon first.

To see the flipside, take Heather Mitts. She's cute and all, but she's no better looking than most girls I've dated, and ultimately, she's not that appealing because she will never be more than a bit player on the US women's team and the women's soccer league is no more. Yet, because she's more feminine looking than Mia Hamm (another sportswriters' darling), she somehow manages to win ESPN's Hottest Female Athlete of 2004.

Whatever the case, beauty in female athletes tend to get overrated, because
  1. The media doesn't really know how else to promote women's sports.
  2. Reasonably good looking girls become ten times sexier if they're good at something - acting, cooking or playing the bass, whatever - especially if that "something" is a physical activity.

But in NBC's desperation to find an angle, any angle, to promote athletes, we're being led to believe that non-hot athletes are actually hot. So let's break them down into levels of hotness from 0 to 5.
0 - Yeah, um, no, let's not - for 2 more years, anyway
Okay, I'm averting my eyes. I'm not even looking at you. No no, I'm sure you're pretty and your performance was fantastic. Or so I hear. I'm not posting a picture of you until at least you turn 18.

1 - I'm not saying you're ugly, but I don't like you that way either

I think you're cute. You were totally awesome in that Visa commercial the first 134,584 times I saw it. And that wipeout at the end of your race? Gold medals are a dime a dozen, but moments like that? Some people wait a lifetime. But seriously, thinks you're one of the hottest female athletes? I don't know about that.

2 - I think my mom will like you a lot

It's cool that you guys are curlers. Not many people do that, you know? And I think it's a fun sport to watch - sober, even. And the whole sister thing - intriguing. The best thing? You look good doing all that sweeping and hollering. So I have this thing next week and I can bring a +1. Oh no, it's not a date or anything - I need someone there to make sure I don't do anything stupid in front of my bosses. Yeah, it'll be fun.

3 - So hey, you wanna hang out later?

Oh hey, so I saw your Maxim spread. Yeah, you look pretty good. Seriously - you worked hard to build that body so you should be able to show it off, right? Hey, so have you met my friend Jay? You should talk to him - he's a really great guy. Me? Oh, I have a girlfriend. Yep, behaving myself tonight.

4 - If you were standing in front of me, I'd be all fluttered and blurt out stupid things

Oh hi, yeah. I just wanted to get to, um, introduce myself. Your short program was great. Wow. I've been watching you for a long time, I mean, you're so awesome. Your short program was great. Wait, I've already said that haven't I? I'm an idiot. So you wanna go skating sometimes? Oh, I bet you're tired of skating and I'll look like a klutz anyway. So if you're not busy, I mean, if that's okay with you, do you want to, maybe, um, get some ice cream?

5 - You want sexy time explosion? High five!

(clearing throat) So let's consider 5 "actually hot". Like, you'd find her really, really attractive even if you didn't know she was an Olympian. If you were in the same elevator as her at the office, you're thinking she's headed to a casting.

But here's the thing though - she's an ice dancer, a lower form of figure skater. As I noted to my friend (or maybe she noted to me, I don't remember) as I watched ice dancing and shaved off my manhood little by little this weekend, other figure skaters must make fun of ice dancers. Even the male figure skaters make fun of male ice dancers for being fruity, I bet.

If you're not going to do the stuff that makes figure skating a sport - jumps and tosses - you better be damn good looking. Tanith might be hotter than Sasha, marginally so maybe, but Sasha wins by a landslide for her skills. To paraphrase the most overly referenced movie of 2004, guys like girls with skills. You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills. Which is why girl bassists will always win over teen pop princesses.

Finally, speaking of Olympic bitches, I think we can all agree that both Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick are douchebags and we're glad the thing is over, almost, maybe. But if I have to take a side, it has to be Davis's. For all his surliness, you can't accuse him of being disingenuous. He came to Torino to win gold medals, and he didn't want to let anything, including the team pursuit, get in the way.

Selfish? Maybe, but speed skating is an individual sport - it's meant to be selfish. And he's right about Hedrick being bitter about not winning his five golds and taking the frustration out on him, rather than the other guys on the team who didn't skate fast enough.

Oh, and a new post up at [decentcontent] inspired by an Iowa man's "Wifely Duty Contract". I love the red states. Don't you?


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