Here’s Dr. Marty Klein on Those Beautiful Olympic Bodies. And he’s right — it’s astonishing how professional commentators can blather for hours about the virtues of the athletes without ever once seeming to notice their beauty:

Yes, their commitment to excellence is inspiring, their tenacity is beyond comprehension, their personal stories are (occasionally) fascinating. And there’s that whole agony-of-defeat thing from which we seemingly just cannot turn away.

With all the statistics, superlatives, and medals, does nobody notice—these men and women are good-looking!

Viewing this fortnight’s competition out of Vancouver, there are bodies for every taste—short and tall, wide and narrow, Nordic, African, Asian. We even have competitors from the planet’s genetic melting pots, such as Mongolia, Nepal, Montenegro, and Israel.

But with all the enthusiastic commentary (and equally enthusiastic blather) coming at me in High Def, I’ve yet to hear, “Now that is a gorgeous young man,” or “Wow, she is a really attractive young woman,” or “Oh my, I think I’m in love!”

True, many competitors are bundled up in snowsuits. But those tights are so tight that you can tell which of the men are circumcised. Besides, what about the figure skaters? A small army of designers makes a fortune imagining outfits that will be very, very sexy—while judges, commentators, and audience deny that that’s the intent.

Yes, yes, of course we’re admiring these people for their performance, not their eroticism. But are they really so separate? Surely, health, talent, youth, and performance under pressure are erotic. And just as surely, any emotionally healthy athlete relates to his or her body erotically, just as non-athletes do.

It wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it weren’t so blatantly absent.

It’s worth mentioning that they used to conduct the Olympics naked. (The chair will entertain a motion at this time all in favor say “aye” any objections hearing none motion carried.)

I do wonder, though, whether some of the blindness to Olympic hotness isn’t informed by the media-culture obsession with thinness. A lot of Olympians are muscular to the point of being “thick-bodied” from the perspective of the people that think they need to airbrush away the hips of already-skinny models. I’m old enough to remember when Mary Lou Retton went bouncy-bouncy-bounce through all of our lives (and through a great many adolescent fantasies; I could, but won’t, provide detailed anecdotal testimony). You could tell, even then, that the media-culture gatekeepers thought her legs were too big; they didn’t think she was pretty enough to brighten our boxes of Wheaties, and they were — as any rational man of the right age can tell you — fucking insane.