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Monday, May 17, 2010

Editorial - Swimsuit issue - COMMITED

The swimsuit issue has hit the news stand. And, as with any swimsuit issue you are going to get letters that say cancel my subscription, etc. This is just going to happen. I am sure the editors of magazines that do swimsuit issues weigh the newsstand impact against alienating their core audience. Sports magazines continue to do, transportation magazines (car, boat, motorcycle) continue to do it.

I am trying to remember the past swimsuit issues in Triathlete magazine. I thought that they tried to show representatives of people that actually do triathlons. I guess not anymore (I don't know for sure but I remember past swimsuit issues having a little bio next to the model saying what activities they enjoyed).  The models in the swimsuit spread do not represent typical triathletes nor do their swimsuits. NOTE: I do not have a subscription to Triathlete but I did flip through the pages at the book store.

But the swimsuit models are not the news this year. The seat manufacture Fizik has a 2-page ad that shows the real champions of our sport. The caption reads “COMMITED” and the ad has sparked some controversy on the message boards. Many say that these athletes look gaunt and ill - unhealthy. While I am sure the juxtaposition between the beach body pageantry of the swimsuit layout models is being played up I think our cultural definition of health and performance has changed.



The Fizik ad is showing the pinnacle athletes of our sport. They look lean. They look fast. They look like endurance athletes. They have uneven tan lines.  They have flaws.  They are real athletes and not models. Their performance, not their looks, determines their success.

These are very different objectives than the models in a typical swimsuit layout. If I showed this photograph to my non-triathlete friends they would talk about how unhealthy these individuals appear. However, the models that are presented as healthy in most magazines are no better. The images that they represent are just more culturally accepted.

Let me know what you think of the advertisement. I think that it is a success.

7 comments:

  1. I think they look very healthy and fit. I would actually size them up if I saw them at a competition and tell myself to try and stay on their tails during the race!

    You can tell they are endurance athletes.

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  2. The ad has captured my attention everytime I have looked at the current issue of Triathlete. They look just what the ad advertises... committed! They are the true endurance athletes and definitely not just models!

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  3. I would have to say that there are just a "few" winners in that ad. Who cares what they look like it is how they perform. Fizik probably loves the fact that everyone is talking about the ad. Any press is good press.

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  4. I love the ad and I can totally appreciate it and relate more to that than a silly swimsuit issue of SI.

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  5. I think generally speaking people are a bit sensitive. I think people should relax and just enjoy the human body at its finest. These bodies do what no other bodies can do.

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  6. I think there is nothing wrong with the ad, they are the elite of the sport, people who actually follow and know the sport will agree they look great, outsiders or less informed people will think they look unhealthy based on "media controlled" of what an "athelte" should look like.

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  7. I have always had an issue with the swimsuit edition of the tri mags. I have always felt that they should use athletes instead of swimsuit models, and tri and swim suits instead of string bikinis.

    The fizik ad is extreme, but these guys are elite athletes. I am sure that picture was taken during race season, maybe even at Kona, so they are at peak race weight.

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