Meat

CommodityI’m dissapointed with Olympic gymnast Louis Smith.

Watching him throw himself around various contraptions in pursuit of a medal at the London Olympics took my breath away. I was genuinely surprised not only about his accomplishments at such a young age, but also how my reaction to him wasn’t tinged with the usual pinprick of cynicism most of my day to day experiences are.

I was – surprisingly – even more impressed when he agreed to take part in Strictly Come Dancing. He’s worked hard for years and got himself a medal – he deserves to have some silly fun now.

But part of that TV project does inevitably see him appearing in all sorts of magazines and newspapers, selling a product by offering himself up as a product as well. Eye candy. Oh, and there’s a calendar in the offing too.

It will sell of course, just like Tom Daley’s calendar will sell. Just like Beckham’s did before it and countless other similar male pin-ups have done too.

Smith like a whole range of other Olympic athletes are commodities now. I can’t blame them necessarily. Again, why shouldn’t they capitalise on the hard-earned celebrity status they acquired during London 2012? They should make hay while the sun shines. At least their status is credible, plausible and well-deserved.

Smith is eye candy. He’s easy on the eye and because of that (and because I find him eassy on the eye) I observe how the chasm between admiration for his Olympic accomplishments and the cheaper, dirtier feeling I experience ogling him grows wider.

Olympics achievements momentarily redefined celebrity. Now I fear we’ve fallen back into our old habits.

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