The Sex Appeal Competition, Ctd

A reader writes:

I find the conclusions of this study problematic.  First of all, why is the scope limited to the apparent sexiness of women?  It seems to me that popular men's sports (swimming, gymnastics, track) involve scantily clad men.  Why is there a double standard? But, more importantly, is this correlation even remotely true?  Have you seen the US women's competition swim suits?  I'm not sure you can consider those more revealing or attractive than a pair of bicycle shorts.  Furthermore, one of the most popular women's events, US women's soccer, doesn't get much prime time coverage because it's really hard to slot a 90 minute game into the prime time broadcast.  It's much easier to do a 10-20 minute bit on an entire swimming race than to find an elegant way to weave in US v. France.

It seems to me as though there are three factors that determine what NBC shows:

1) the chance of the US winning a medal, 2) It's ability to fit into the broadcast, 3) the actual popularity of the sport in the US.  I'm sorry that nobody cares about fencing, but most people don't actually understand the sport.  Meanwhile, almost everyone has played beach volley ball a few times.  Which one would you rather watch?

I love the Olympics because it's one of the few places where both male and female athletes are appropriately celebrated for their accomplishments.  Abby Wambach is a legitimate star at the Games; just ask my 10-year-old niece when she gets back from soccer practice.  Why are we speaking negatively about the Olympics instead of celebrating the fact that we love watching our women compete on the international level?  It drives me insane, and it belittles the accomplishments of some of the amazing female athletes that are receiving attention.  Who cares if she's wearing a bikini … she just won a gold medal!