Role Model Revision: From Angel to Olympian

I’ve been hooked to the telly since the Opening Ceremony and I haven’t missed a single figure skating or ice dancing routine. I scrutinise the ice skaters’ every movement, every detail, and their performance as a whole from my perspective as a television spectator. I ooh-and-aah at their outfits — the tiniest, most sparkly dresses. But, contrary to when I’m watching a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I don’t ever comment on the ice skaters’ bodies.

Aspiring Doutzen’s bum

When I watch a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I am one of those people that secretly aspires to have a bum like Doutzen’s and to have Behati’s amazing abs (and while we’re at it, her smile, too). While I would rather deny it, watching their bodies does affect me. Not necessarily in a bad way, because I am aware that looking good is a model’s job, and that I am not a model, but a normal student. That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean that the Angels are not amongst my role models.

The ice skaters

The ice skating girls reveal only slightly less than the Victoria’s Secret Angels, yet I don’t pay attention to their slender bodies in that way even though appearance is part of the sport and performance as well. Despite this, these Olympians do not become role models to me like the Angels do, which I find odd.

Expectations and qualifications

It’s probably because the Olympians are not meant to be beautiful like the super models are and because their bodies are not designed to be showcases. Instead, they are supposed to deliver, to belong to the top of the world, to twizzle perfectly and to nail double toe loops. They have to give away a flawless show and that’s what we expect from them, so apparently they do not qualify as my role models, which is absolutely ridiculous.

Physical qualities vs. admirable traits

It is so ridiculous because this tells me that my role models are purely based on physical qualities rather than admirable traits; outer beauty vs. inner beauty. I never realised this before, but the Angels are only physical examples to me, or a beauty ideal, if you will. The Olympian ice skaters, however, are so much more than that. Their bodies are in top shape, too, but not to be pretty – no, to achieve the best they can, because these people have a passion, a dream, a goal. They show dedication, determination, and a drive. When I look at their bodies, it’s only to be amazed at the strength, power and balance they possess and how effortlessly this makes every twist and turn look. The emotions the Olympians show are true emotions that surface in the heat of the moment and that are not part of an act.

The difference

If you wonder why there seems to be a difference to me between an Olympian and an Angel, then I can only say that it is because I admire the Olympian for all those amazing qualities of personality, rather than (just) their physique. Their bodies are only the “by-product” of those amazing characteristics they need to become Olympians. While I do not doubt that models dream, aspire and work really hard as well, they just do not represent those things to me as the Olympians do.

“The best version of me”

I’ve come to realise that a role model, to me, should not be about long legs and toned tummies, but about someone who inspires me to become the person I want to be; to be “the best version of me,” as British gold Skeleton medallist Lizzy Yarnold said last Friday — an example of a true inspiration, a true role model.

Photo by Atos International (CC)

One thought on “Role Model Revision: From Angel to Olympian

  1. The sacrifices Olympians have to make are incredible, and that this influences their looks and accounts for the right proportions is a great advantage. However, it’s not about that for them; it’s about the gold, silver or bronze.

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