Monday, August 25, 2008

The family rhetoric at the Olympics

In case you missed women's beach volleyball--but really, how could you given the near constant coverage?--let me tell you about some of the discussion centered around Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh. The discourse focused on two things: their dominance and their heterosexuality (with the occasional homoerotic turn when their victory "koala hug" from the previous Olympics--acceptable because it's "hot" and temporary).
There were segments on each of their respective marriages to other male athletes. There was the lost wedding ring incident when Walsh's ring came off during one of the matches and they had to search the sand for it afterwards (a volunteer found it). And there was the discussion of their post-Olympic lives and impending motherhood.
Overall there was a lot of family talk this Olympics. People with kids; athletes with mothers (Debbie Phelps's face is just as recognizable now as her son's size 14 feet); doting husbands and wives; supportive brothers and sisters. There were lots of shots of families in the stands with lots of paraphernalia (flags, apparel, signs) and cameras.
Want to know who was there supporting Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, who delivered an outstanding performance in the men's 10M platform and broke the Chinese's string of gold medals? Yeah, me too. Well I know his male partner was there. But no one spoke about it. Mitcham was one of only 13 out athletes at the games and no one was talking about his support team.

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