Ah, the Olympics. The prowess! The patriotism! The consistent flow of corruption/cheating scandals! The games are under way, so get ready for an athletic edition of this week’s news roundup (athletic in the sense that it’s pertaining to the Olympics; we personally have been vegetating in front of our laptops all day). Let’s get started, shall we?
Female athletes are crushing it at the Olympics and, according to some rather infuriating media coverage, they have their husbands to thank for their accomplishments. After Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu broke the world record for the 400-meter individual medley swim event, an NBC commentator claimed that Hosszu’s husband and coach, Shane Tusup, is “the man responsible” for her achievement. Meanwhile, when promoting a story on three-time Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unrein, The Chicago Tribune tweeted, “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a Bronze medal today in Rio Olympics.” That sound you hear is the collective weeping of the feminist movement.
Female transgender Olympians do not have a physical advantage over cisgender female athletes, according to a 2015 study that has resurfaced in the wake of the Rio games. When the International Olympic Committee opened the games up to transgender athletes in January of this year, cisgender athletes expressed concerns that their trans counterparts would enjoy an unfair advantage. But researchers have found that trans women experience a decrease in muscle mass, bone density and other physical characteristics as their testosterone levels come down during hormone therapy. As the study’s lead author wrote in a Washington Post Op-Ed, “Together these changes lead to a loss of speed, strength and endurance — all key components of athleticism.”
NBC broadcaster Al Trautwig found himself in hot water after tweeting that the couple who adopted and raised gold medal gymnast/national treasure Simone Biles were “NOT her parents.” Biles spent time in foster care before being adopted by her maternal grandfather, Ron Biles, and his wife, Nellie. In spite of Biles’ decision to call Ron and Nellie her parents, Trautwig has repeatedly referred to them as her grandparents. When the adoptive community suggested that his terminology was insensitive, Trautwig tweeted, “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.” Biles pretty much shut the whole conversation down when she told Us Weekly, “My parents are my parents and that’s it.” Now perhaps we can turn our attention to more pressing matters — like the fact that the Olympic pool has transformed into a festering vat of green algae.
A photo of gymnasts from North Korea and South Korea posing together at the Rio Olympics has gone viral, because who doesn’t like to think that there is hope for this world after all? Lee Eun-ju of South Korea reportedly approached Hong Un-jong of North Korea during a training session ahead of the Olympics. Despite the intensely adversarial relationship between North and South Korea, the gymnasts snapped a selfie together, and the encounter was captured by photojournalists on the scene. Faith in humanity officially restored.