The Olympics have started. I have to say I’m not a fan of it, or any other sport for that matter, and it’ll pass me by almost completely. I’ve already retuned my car radio to avoid elongated news bulletins about people I’ve never heard of before, or will again, competing in sports I’ve no interest in.
However, the Olympics engage many people, and it seemed an appropriate time to do a post on the Olympics’ naked origins.
First of all, the word gymnasium/gymnastics/gymnast are all rooted in an ancient Greek word ‘gymnos’, which means ‘naked’. The early competitors trained and competed naked.
Much art that depicts the early Olympics accurately depicts the competitors as being naked, from carrying a flame to wrestling (above) and everything in between.
When the Olympics returned to their spiritual home in 2004, the opening ceremony featured body painted men, with some sort of costume worn on their bottom half, to reflect the way things were (see photo above).
Women weren’t allowed to compete, or spectate, at the early Olympics, hence the lack of ‘equality’ demonstrated in these items of art or living statues.
In 2004, however, the organisers of the ceremony did add some ‘Minoan fashion’ as a nod to ancient Greek times.
That is, they were routinely bare-breasted.
A few years ago, when Second Life seemed to maintain a greater cultural diversity, there was a role-play sim built in a Greek style, with women expected to be ‘in character’, dress wise, with bare breasts and, if I remember correctly, the men went nude, reflecting the times.
This famous painting by Degas (above) shows the dress code of Spartan youth, naked boys and top-free girls, although Degas’ sketches suggest that he maybe initially intended to portray the females without skirts.
Those who indulge in the ‘natural/shaved’ pubic region debates in 2016 should note that, two thousand years ago, depilation was also practiced then.
It is highly unlikely that the Olympics that started today will feature any nudity, although the words of Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser (who swam at three Olympics in the late 50s and early 60s) said that if she had been allowed to compete naked she would have broken more records than she actually did.
As I’ve alluded to above, SL used to contain a much richer range of cultures, including sports. It’s almost impossible to find a running track, or a gymnasium these days, but we’ve got a model to do a bit of a naked workout on the grid. Perhaps Linden Labs would like to consider using up some of their abandoned land to provide ‘social infrastructure’ for SL. Gymnasiums, swimming pools, libraries…all of the facilities that create a proper society, but in which there is no potential to offset tier costs.