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Women Who Hit Hard
August 25, 2010 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Top female tennis stars hitting the ball in slow motion.

Related NYT article and slide show.
posted by gman (90 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, come on. Women don't soak their rackets in water when they play!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:22 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was not expecting an NYT link...
posted by delmoi at 3:25 PM on August 25, 2010


Due to the close cropping, the clothing options and the glitter (wft paper of record) that was creepier than expected.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:26 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is compelling viewing, but I have a hard time imagining them doing a similar set of movies for male tennis stars.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


The music! Ugh.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Needs Bieber.
posted by Kabanos at 3:30 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'd like to see slow motion construction on a hot day now, please.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:30 PM on August 25, 2010 [13 favorites]


they also don't cover themselves in sequins and body glitter.

it reminds me of the limo and ballgowns website for the FSU female basketball team.
posted by nadawi at 3:30 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


wft = where for tennis, of course.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:30 PM on August 25, 2010


The music, accoutrements and attire make these far less tasteful and mesmerising than actual slow motion match footage. And also not as slow.

Federer compilation.
posted by fire&wings at 3:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


We see this all the time with male basketball players and Pepsi commercials, so I appreciate showcasing the athleticism of female tennis players, who are mostly under-regaled in the sports world, as well as just the majesty of the body in motion. I mean look how much work it takes to sail a smooth forehand. But, like others are saying, wtf glitter soaked tennis balls and full hair & make up???

Beautiful to watch but disappointing in principal.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 3:35 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I liked the concentration shown in Venus' eyes, and jeez, Samantha Stosur is completely ripped. But this felt kind of exploitative. Pretty people are pretty.
posted by maxwelton at 3:37 PM on August 25, 2010


The facial expressions are interesting. Serena Williams looks like she wants revenge against the tennis ball that killed her father. Elena Dementieva looks like a zen fairy.
posted by weston at 3:37 PM on August 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


> The music! Ugh.

It could have been worse. The original soundtrack accompanying the videos was some guy's heavy breathing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:41 PM on August 25, 2010 [26 favorites]


As someone who used to play tennis competitively, I think I might have been looking at this in a different way -- I had the "WTF, outfits?" thought for a second but then I was just concentrating on the athleticism and grace and sheer power, and aaaaagh, SO COOL.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:43 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sharapova or it didn't happen.
posted by stargell at 3:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


What do slo-mo male players look like hitting a tennis ball? Did they go with females because there are usually a few more percentage points of body fat that might show up in high speed video?

Overall the whole project feels really awkward and weird. Is the NYT trying to celebrate athleticism or sexuality? It's really confusing.
posted by mathowie at 3:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Watch their eyes ... (if you're able to tear your own eyes away).

Great players have great eyesight. They're able to track the ball right onto the racket, picking up the rotation of the ball and coordinating all the motions on a level you and I can't begin to fathom. When you slow it down, you can see that they can see everything.

As my baseball coach liked to say, "Keep your head down, watch the bat hit the ball."

"MOTHERFUCKER SAY WHAT?!? WATCH THE WHAT HIT THE WHAT? I CAN'T EVEN SEE THE DAMN WHAT!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:46 PM on August 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


I liked the concentration shown in Venus' eyes

Everyone filmed seemed pretty intense... and then Serena's got this look in here eyes like I'M GOING TO RIP YOUR FUCKING THROAT OUT as she makes contact with the ball.

That being said, this sad sack of flab is always impressed with people who have enough dedication to be able to develop that kind of strength and endurance.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:46 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is what eyes were made for.
posted by Faze at 3:48 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't find this very encouraging at a time when women's sports are experiencing a 'staggering drop' in media coverage.

As USC gender studies professor Michael Messner notes: What high-level women's athletes have to do to get coverage in mainstream outlets often times is to take off their clothes. It's sad to say, but that's the way it works. For those individual women, it helps raise their profile and possibly make them some money. But it certainly doesn't help promote women's sports. I think it's a way to really corner off women into an image that is acceptable and familiar to male audiences and male broadcasters.
posted by grounded at 3:49 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Didn't seem creepy to me, I find really slow motion stuff too otherworldly for that. But then I didn't have the sound on so that might colour it a bit.

We get to see a lot of cool shots like this from the BBC coverage of Wimbledon, as they have slow motion cameras on Centre Court and always show a compilation of interesting bits from the day's play in the evening. Not just the big hits, but things like the players taking tumbles and birds landing on the court, so it seems like they have it on almost all of the time. Can't imagine they could store all of the footage, but it must be fun to sort through it.
posted by lucidium at 3:50 PM on August 25, 2010


"Is the NYT trying to celebrate athleticism or sexuality? It's really confusing."

extrapolate to the whole world and fans of female sports in specific - i agree, it's really confusing.

sometimes it feels like we haven't really advanced from the time of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. i mean, we don't send the women athletes to finishing school anymore, but we sure as hell make sure they all know how to femme out for a photo shoot.
posted by nadawi at 3:50 PM on August 25, 2010


Beautiful to watch but disappointing in principal.
Yeah, I don't think this is about tennis.

For table tennis "Men who hit hard"in slo-mo, click here. (Sorry, no babes)
posted by MtDewd at 3:52 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is compelling viewing, but I have a hard time imagining them doing a similar set of movies for male tennis stars.

To be honest, I have a hard time imagining them doing this with unattractive women.

Then again, looking at the women's ranking, they're all pretty darn good looking. Must be an upper class sport ...

Unrelatedly, I always though the biggest future prediction DFW ever got wrong in IJ was proposing that Venus Williams would be better than Serena.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:53 PM on August 25, 2010


This is some sort of fetish, no? Because ... I feel kind of dirty watching it.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:54 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


For table tennis "Men who hit hard"in slo-mo, click here. (Sorry, no babes)

Now that was fucking awesome. Thank you.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:54 PM on August 25, 2010


I clicked this link hoping for the sort of sport analysis that went along with the NYT video about how Mariano Rivera throws the same frickin' unhittable pitch over an entire season. It was weird feeling disappointed by beautiful women made up beautifully, gracefully performing their usually-sweaty sport. Still pretty cool, but...
posted by carsonb at 3:58 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I found the excessive cropping to be the most annoying aspect of this. It definitely had a "Maxim" vibe but I don't necessarily think that makes it 'exploitative'
Then again, looking at the women's ranking, they're all pretty darn good looking. Must be an upper class sport
How many ugly athletes do you know of? People who spend all their time tuning their bodies are generally going to look good.
posted by delmoi at 3:59 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The US Open starts next week. It's in NYC. They try to play up the glamor. Might have something to do with it.
posted by BeerFilter at 4:04 PM on August 25, 2010


Then again, looking at the women's ranking, they're all pretty darn good looking. Must be an upper class sport ...

It's more of a function of the sport and culture than class. Tall and willowy women succeed at tennis because long arm levers allow for more power. Tennis is popular among Russian and Eastern European women.

Coincidentally, tall and willowy women of Russian/Eastern European descent are the current flavor of supermodel.

Gymnastics requires a similar level of commitment and access to practice facilities. But those women are all tiny little balls of muscle you won't see hawking the latest fashions on a Paris catwalk anytime soon.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:09 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was interesting seeing where the forces are most strained on the human physique. The quads act like shocks so the upper body can concern itself with generating rotational torque while the brain makes sure the angle is just right.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:13 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do all female tennis players have long hair now?

Yeah, definitely an upper-class sport.
posted by amtho at 4:13 PM on August 25, 2010


I saw the link and clicked on it excitedly, hoping to hear the exaggerated grunts and howls one associates with women tennis players, all slowed down and monstrous-sounding, and instead they had some cheesy music.

Disappointed.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:14 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


fire&wings, that Federer video is amazing - I love his completely unhurried expression for pretty much every shot. The only flashes of emotion are with tiny smiles after a few of them; you can practically hear him going "aww yeah."

I'm definitely in the "this is creepy" camp on the original post's video, though. Something I always find interesting is that athletes tend to automatically be pretty much completely desexualised when they're competing, even if their outfits would be considered very skimpy in any other context - the athleticism just completely overrides it. So basically, the NYT absolutely didn't sexualise this by accident, they had to try to get that effect.

Which, of course, is OK if the athletes themselves wanted to do it that way, but unless we know that it leaves a bit of a nasty taste in the mouth...
posted by ZsigE at 4:16 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, the NYT is still pretending to be a respectable news outlet - they can't just put pictures of titties up and go "HEY LOOK TITTIES PLEASE CLICK THE ADS!" - so they do this instead.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 4:32 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


That was ace! Women have a real advantage when it comes to this kind of racket. Deuced if I know why this sort of backhand compliment is seen as serving to be a net loss for (or slam) on women.
posted by unliteral at 4:48 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Federer...
posted by Rhomboid at 4:51 PM on August 25, 2010


Disagree a little with the accusations of sexism. Obviously it's a problem in today's world but this video collection? The glitter, the music, the close cropping, I blame that on a filmmaker gone wild who was hired by a distinct section of The New York Times: The New York Times Magazine. And slo-mo shots of athletic bodies is kind of a thing.
posted by solmyjuice at 4:53 PM on August 25, 2010


Something I always find interesting is that athletes tend to automatically be pretty much completely desexualised when they're competing, even if their outfits would be considered very skimpy in any other context - the athleticism just completely overrides it.

Except for beach volleyball.
posted by mkb at 4:53 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see slow motion construction on a hot day now, please.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:30 PM on August 25


Here you go.
posted by Anything at 5:01 PM on August 25, 2010


"I blame that on a filmmaker gone wild" - yeah, with sexism, whether purposefully or ingrained.

don't you see the immediate difference between the adrian peterson video you linked and the glitter and eyeliner in the topic video? i think most of us understand the slo-mo video is a thing in sports and we've seen a lot of it, except the male athletes are usually in their gym gear and they didn't set their hair for hours before the shoot. personally, i was hoping it was like the male slo-mo videos i've seen, which is why i was so disappointed with the actual link.
posted by nadawi at 5:01 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Must be an upper class sport ...

Oh, one more thing ... what part of Compton is upper class?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:02 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm on the "creepy" side about this expose by the NYT. The cropping just really feels odd and exploitative. I'm completely in awe of what these women have achieved normally, and I'm usually a fan of slo mo athletics. But this - I dunno, it feels kinda icky to me in a weird way.
posted by gemmy at 5:03 PM on August 25, 2010


This is about two steps up from Benny Benassi's Satisfaction video. I appreciate athleticism and some of that shone through, but the glitter and tight crops and focus on the bodies just kind of ... ugh.
posted by komara at 5:07 PM on August 25, 2010


Yeah, any sort of claim that those videos were all about the players' athleticism and skill and not, well, straight up lad-mag wank fodder more suited to FHM than the NYT, were pretty much undermined by the fact that in half of them you couldn't even see the player hit the ball. Even when you could see what looked to be fine footwork, it was impossible to tell, since you had no idea where the ball was coming from and what it was doing. (Contrast this with the video of Federer that fire&wings linked, which is the kind of thing that this series of clips ought to have been.)
posted by Len at 5:23 PM on August 25, 2010


Then again, looking at the women's ranking, they're all pretty darn good looking. Must be an upper class sport

I just have to come back to this. Do you think all poor people are ugly or something? Tennis probably is an upper class sport, but the idea that people who are good looking must be upper class is pretty absurd, especially when you exclude fat people (who are generally not athletes)
posted by delmoi at 5:29 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ugh. Velveeta.
posted by VikingSword at 5:30 PM on August 25, 2010


Did they go with females because there are usually a few more percentage points of body fat that might show up in high speed video?

Yeah...more precisely, because of the adipose tissue lining their pectorals and gluteus maximus.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:33 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


I dunno, this was interesting and weird at the same time.

The water and glitter and outfits were silly.

The intensity of focus was cool.

But why show every player's face but Samantha Stosur's? I appreciate that she's ripped but it seemed like they were more interested in her boobs.
posted by bwg at 6:09 PM on August 25, 2010


Yeah, I, for one, am shocked to find out that roving bands of armed photographers are kidnapping these female tennis stars at gunpoint and forcing them to pose for NYT Mag. I can only hope the people who did this will release them in time for the Open to start or else there will be several byes in the early round. *finishes hamburger*

Seriously, folks, footage like this of both men and women is used all the time in TV promotions leading up major tournaments. I honestly think, perhaps incorrectly, that if these were reproduced shot by shot with the top male players instead of females then thread participants here wouldn't have nearly the negative reaction.

"But BeerFilter," I anticipate you saying, "the NYT didn't film slo-mo body shots of the men, they took them only of women." My reply to that would be, "Yes, to accompany an article about the current state of the women's game." Perhaps I'm a country simpleton, but I think if the NYT Mag editors wanted to slap "lad-mag wank fodder" up on the web or in to print, they'd come up with a lot simpler way to do it than a 5000-word tennis essay and a photoshoot of some of the top female athletes in the world.

I hear what some of you are saying, you feel uncomfortable with this video shoot. I'm not trying to diminish your feelings or emotions (I wouldn't have framed all these shots the exactly same way they were, either, but hey, art.). I'm sharing my own feelings.

What I feel uncomfortable with is the implicit concept that these professional female athletes are unable to recognize when they are being exploited or are they not able to decide what photo shoots they do. If you have problems with this piece then express them towards the editors and producers who made the videos. To condemn this entire thing and its subjects as just an excuse to run some fap pictures, I think, is as disrespectful to the athletes as some of you are saying you feel these videos are.

This was made to accompany a print piece running in NYT Mag on the day before the US Open begins in NY. From where I sit, far far away, the US Open tries hard to convey a sense of cosmopolitan, glamorous NYC and the players often wear fashion-inspired outfits when they play. The attire in these videos all fit, to my eye, within that narrative. To view this through the Metafilter Boyzone Sexism lens seems, to me, at best missing the point and at worst, generating unnecessary grar.

Hugs to all.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:39 PM on August 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


[checks wristwatch]

51 comments before the first mention of "fap." Good.
posted by swift at 6:52 PM on August 25, 2010


We've come a long way, baby.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:54 PM on August 25, 2010


Serena's video was my favorite. Using your imagination, replace the tennis racket with a sword.

She was intense. Her face showed it the whole time, and then mid swing, out come the muscles in her arms.

All of these were pretty well done, though. Neat concept!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:14 PM on August 25, 2010


[checks wristwatch]

51 comments before the first mention of "fap." Good.


Where did you get a wristwatch that tells you the number of comments on a MetaFilter article?
posted by hambone at 7:24 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


It was a bit silly, but I did learn this: When we fight the machines, if I am allowed to draft only one professional tennis player woman, it should be Kim Clijsters.

Also, the Sharapova match videos from fire&wings are impressive—she just absolutely uncorks with every major muscle group. She could probably kill a bunch of machines too.
posted by Mister_A at 7:43 PM on August 25, 2010


So Serena Williams is a twilight vampire. Who would have guessed?
posted by Decimask at 7:53 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


> What I feel uncomfortable with is the implicit concept that these professional female athletes are unable to recognize when they are being exploited or are they not able to decide what photo shoots they do.

As a photographer, I can tell you that I can sit you down to take a portrait and I can end up with a completely unflattering image unlike anything you imagined. You'll never know this if you don't actually see what I shot. Likewise, we hear all the time about how reality television is edited not to show what happend but to show what the producers think is interesting.

Do you think that Samantha Stosur knew what her filming was going to look like in the end? That she would end up almost faceless in a film that focused on her breasts in a flimsy top? I'm sure all that these women heard through their reps was, "We want you to do some film thing for the New York Times" and so they did it.

Obviously they entered into it willingly, and chances are no one forced them to wear the outfits seen in the shoot (pressured, maybe, but not forced) but still, they couldn't possibly have known what the end product would look like.

The players are certainly not to blame for the end product, but at the same time they couldn't possibly have known what the end product would be.

I agree with all the commenters that say it would have been much more informative to zoom out and see the entire motion of the body, have every face well-lit so that the viewer could see the looks of intense concentration on their faces. I personally would have preferred to see these women sans glitter and in their game outfits. The ornamentation, the dress, and the camera work are the things that leave me less than impressed.
posted by komara at 7:58 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is the NYT trying to celebrate athleticism or sexuality?

Uh...there's a difference?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:07 PM on August 25, 2010


You know, all they had to do was add a few token men and the creepy factor would go pretty much down to zero. For someone who doesnt really watch sports, this is compelling stuff, almost akin to walking around a Bernini sculpture, in the way each form changes so subtly from moment to moment. So why only women?
posted by condour75 at 8:22 PM on August 25, 2010


And yeah the glitter is asinine.
posted by condour75 at 8:23 PM on August 25, 2010


Arg, I wish those were full-body shots. It seems disrespectful and creepy to crop into their faces and bodies like that- most of these shots manage to fetishize the athletes while totally obscuring the actual athleticism. In the shot of Serena Williams, for instance, you barely even see the racquet- it's not about a world-class athlete hitting a ball at all, it's a creeper's peek at a girl's pretty face while she sweats and bites her lip.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Celebrating female tennis players in slo-mo: A New York Times video slide show highlights the power -- or is it the sex appeal? -- of these top athletes
posted by Rumple at 8:44 PM on August 25, 2010


You know who else celebrated human athleticism and beauty in slow motion? That's right ...
posted by zippy at 8:45 PM on August 25, 2010


How many ugly athletes do you know of? People who spend all their time tuning their bodies are generally going to look good.

There is actually a trace of scientific evidence suggesting a link between physical attractiveness (at least as judged by "body symmetry") and athletic ability.
posted by stargell at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a total puppydog crush on Serena Williams. She's so awesome. That is all.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2010


The radical asymmetry of the dominant and non-dominant arms of tennis players never stops being totally fascinating to me.
posted by penduluum at 9:29 PM on August 25, 2010


Next week at the New York Times:

Playmates.

Trampolines.

Glitter.

Super-slo-mo.

Shut up. We know you'll click it anyway.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:41 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


the creepy factor

Beautiful women are creepy?

Muscular, athletic bodies are sexy and beautiful. Thinking that finding aesthetic pleasure in their appearance is creepy is creepy.

There are racks of magazines produced every month full of pictures of anorexic women pushing an unhealthy idea of beauty onto an impressionable public. That's what I find creepy.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:02 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


My vote is for creepy.

But if you watch their eyes, you'll see why they are better tennis players than you or me.
posted by peeedro at 10:26 PM on August 25, 2010


I think if the videos weren't so tightly cropped, it would have been a lot better. But these slow-mo cams actually seem to be creating a new kind of art. They're almost like motion photographs. The lighting is like what you'd see in a photo. And in fact if you took still shots of any of these they would make great photos. But when you set it in motion things are a little different. The cropping is actually really frustrating
posted by delmoi at 11:10 PM on August 25, 2010


I just realized they should have been playing slowed-down Justin Bieber to accompany these shots.
posted by weston at 11:40 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The ornamentation, the dress, and the camera work are the things that leave me less than impressed.

Yeah, it would have been really nice to see slow-mo videos of tennis players in their actual sports gear without all that extraneous crap in the way. Still, I guess now I know I want to see that I can go search youtube and leave this creepy stuff way behind.

Where did you get a wristwatch that tells you the number of comments on a MetaFilter article?

Probably from the same place I got the Tickle-Me Elmo that counts the number of paragraphs in an NYT article about physically powerful women before words like vulnerable start creeping in.

Two, apparently.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:22 AM on August 26, 2010


That hit the sweet spot. Too bad there wasn't a Wozniacki thrown in for good measure.
posted by quadog at 2:15 AM on August 26, 2010


Oh, God – they found a way to make tennis last even longer.
posted by dudekiller at 2:17 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Schwing!
posted by undercoverhuwaaah at 7:42 AM on August 26, 2010


So much hand-wringing over exactly how we're allowed to admire the bodies of world-class athletes. Yeah, I'm with Beerfilter.
posted by millions at 8:57 AM on August 26, 2010


Weird Jel Jankovic!
posted by not_on_display at 10:06 AM on August 26, 2010


Oh, one more thing ... what part of Compton is upper class?

Exception meet the rule.

Don't get me wrong. I played tennis and I was not upper class (though comfortably middle class and with other advantages - my dad was a teacher and coach and I had access to coaching and equipment).

I also think that tennis is the epitome of sport and that tennis players are probably the greatest athletes in the world. It's not my favorite sport to watch, but trust me, I have plenty of respect. I played 5 years of competitive junior tennis.

Having said that, it's impossible to ignore the advantage that money provides tennis players. Aside from equipment and court access, one-on-one coaching is a huge benefit. Tennis academies.

Give a poor kid a racket, adequate instruction, transportation to events, access to courts and competent opponents, and training guidance (and practice time), and yeah, she'll be on par with a rich kid.

I would still posit that female tennis players are considerably more conventionally attractive (per mainstream media's definition) than other female athletes. Except maybe skiers, snowboarders, and polo players. ^_^

How many ugly athletes do you know of?

Oh lord. How much time do you have? Let's start with the NBA: Sam Cassell, Adam Morrison, Dikembe Mutombo, Charles Barkeley, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen. Chris Kaman!

Did you watch the World Cup? Did you see Spain's Carles Puyol? Brazil's Ronaldinho ain't no prize. Nor Ronaldo. And Maradona was no dreamboat.

I'm not going through it sport by sport, but there are scads of (conventionally) ugly atheletes.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2010


Talk about your missed opportunities. That first video, of Kim Clijsters hitting a defensive slice forehand on the run, was all sorts of amazing. Would love to see similar videos that showcase the body/mechanics like that video.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 10:44 AM on August 26, 2010


it's impossible to ignore the advantage that money provides tennis players

Isn't this true of all sports, though? Why single out tennis? And while tennis academies are certainly a huge benefit, I'd bet that many players at academies are on scholarship. A lot of the top women players today are Russians who came out of state-sponsored tennis mills.
posted by ekroh at 10:57 AM on August 26, 2010


How many ugly athletes do you know of?

Oh please, there was more than one butterface in those video clips. Your eyes were just focused elsewhere.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 11:00 AM on August 26, 2010


They're purty, sure, but it was interesting on a strictly athletic level, too. Some things I noticed: posted by richyoung at 12:40 PM on August 26, 2010


Muscular, athletic bodies are sexy and beautiful. Thinking that finding aesthetic pleasure in their appearance is creepy is creepy.

Don't (intentionally) confuse criticism of the presentation with criticism of the subjects, please.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:50 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not seeing criticism of the subjects, I'm seeing criticism of the observers. And I think that's creepy.

Keep your pinched blue noses to yourself.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2010


I also think that tennis is the epitome of sport and that tennis players are probably the greatest athletes in the world.

If we're going to start a pissing contest over this, my vote is for gymnasts as the most awe-inspiring athletes, for the combination of strength, poise, technique & flexibility. Their aerobic capacity would have to be pretty impressive, too, just to feed those muscles.

My second prize would go to rowers, because rowing takes absolutely everything out of you and more, and then bumps it up by another 50%, but you have to maintain perfect technique over miles.

The winter biathlon is also incredibly impressive - ski cross country for miles, then drop your heartrate from 180bpm to 70 in 30 sec, shoot a bullseye, rinse & repeat. I have can't even begin to conceive what kind of training can enable that kind of performance.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2010


If we're going to start a pissing contest over this ...

Gymnasts are impressive, but the sport is too biased toward short people, just as basketball is biased toward tall people and american football to giants.

Rowing? I have friends who rowed, but c'mon. Too short a learning curve. Biathlon is indeed impressive but more technically than athletically. And none of those 3 require any of the on-the-fly reactive thinking that competing directly against an opponent requires.

Almost any (fit) body type can play tennis at a very high level. I place a high import on inclusiveness, i.e. anyone can play. World football (soccer) is likewise inclusive, but the solo factor of singles tennis makes it tougher imo.

I can't really argue with anyone who claims racing/running or boxing to be the epitome of sport. They were likely the first two, and they are pretty good competitions (if brutal, in the case of fighting). But for finding the mostly highly skilled and most fit athletes on the planet, tennis is a darn good meter.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:23 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a valid conclusion as long as you redefine the criteria to include inclusiveness for all body types, solo instead of team effort, competing directly against an opponent, and using a combination of skill & fitness.

I'm a bit confused, though, that rowing has "too short a learning curve" but this doesn't rule out running. I've done both to an OK level of competitiveness, and it honestly takes years to get your rowing stroke to the point at which it looks easy & graceful (but burns like hell).

Fitness in tennis? Not entirely convinced by that. It has bursts of energy over long periods, with plenty of rest breaks, even between points. It's impressive to carry that out over hours, but I don't know if the demands at any point in time are all that great. I'm pretty sure it isn't one of those sports where you feel like you're going to (quite literally) die because you're breathing as hard as you conceivably can, and still aren't getting nearly enough oxygen.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:59 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brazil's Ronaldinho ain't no prize.

What? Bite your tongue. Ronaldinho is my boo.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:53 PM on August 28, 2010


What? Bite your tongue. Ronaldinho is my boo.

Great player, but c'mon.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:33 AM on August 30, 2010


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