Why I want my girls to watch the Olympics

I love everything about the Olympics. One of the greatest joys this Olympics has been sharing that joy with my girls (ages 7 and 5). I love pointing out to them how strong the girl athletes are, regardless of their sporting event. It is a beautiful thing to discuss how each athlete has a special strength, whether an endurance athlete or a power athlete. We enjoy talking about how swimmers do not look like runners, nor do marathon runners look like sprinters, and how their body shape might help them be the best at their event. I love that about the Olympics. There is no “one-size-fits-all” Olympian. It is a breath of fresh air from the highly lauded Victoria Secret type model that seems to bombard our culture. How do we keep our girls from thinking that this body type is the most to be desired? The Olympics is the perfect ground for dispelling such destructing thoughts. So I found myself a bit taken by surprise as I read that one of the highlights of the Opening Ceremonies would be Gisele Bundchen walking across the stage. I have no doubt that she has definitely worked hard and put in her time to be at such a sought after place. And what an incredible opportunity for her!!! And I can not emphasize enough that this is nothing personal against Gisele. But hearing about her part in the opening ceremonies made me less eager for my two little girls to watch it. As my girls and I sat there watching a few brief interviews of USA athletes beforehand as they waited for the opening ceremonies to begin, I couldn’t help wondering what their reaction might be to a model walking the runway. We had just watched Allyson Felix talk about her upcoming race. What was she thinking as thousands of flashes lit up the stadium all attempting to capture this runway moment? Maybe it was an incredible, unforgettable, emotional experience. Maybe watching something like a model walking a runway imparted inspiration and beauty for the athletes. But I wondered if any of them had at one point struggled with body image. And if so, what was their thought process? For me personally, it gave rise for yet another opportunity to preach to myself the truth that our bodies and body fat percentage do not make us worthy or unworthy. I am always thankful for another chance to not only tell myself the truth when it comes to body image, but also, even more so now, with my girls. I just wasn’t expecting to have that opportunity once again…at the Olympics.

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