When I look back on the 2012 London Olympics, I’ll remember it as the year it officially became OK for all female athletes—not just gymnasts—to flaunt their femininity while going for the gold. I mean, how much fun was it watching the women run and swim their hearts out while sporting manicures that could rival the models’ at Fashion Week? The games proved that beauty and sports do mix, and track and field star Aimee Mullins (who also happens to be a double amputee, an actress and a L’Oréal Paris spokesperson) talked about the two topics brilliantly in a People StyleWatch article that I’ve decided is the best thing I’ve read all week.
Aimee earned a spot on the U.S. Paralympics team in 1996 when elaborate nail art or sparkly headbands on the field would have raised eyebrows. That’s why she has mad appreciation for the beauty moments that defined the London events. “I look at when Sanya [Richards-Ross] won gold and Dee Dee [Trotter] won bronze. Dee Dee had appliqué crystals on her face, Sanya had this awesome hair whipping down. I think about Flo-Jo; as a little girl, she was just the most captivating, mesmerizing thing to watch. There’s something about a personal expression of beauty that’s really related to being powerful,” Aimee told People StyleWatch.
As we know from the long and drawn out Gabby Douglas hair debate and The New York Times’ brutal takedown of Lolo Jones, there is a downside to the public’s growing interest in the way female sports stars look. But there is one positive trade-off: The ladies have more freedom to be themselves while they’re competing, makeup, nail polish, weaves and all. As Aimee puts it: “A decade ago, if you were a girly-girl athlete, you weren’t taken as seriously. But I think now, it’s liberating for all of us to realize that we can define for ourselves what beauty means — and what powerful looks and feels like.”
Yep, it’s an exciting time to be a sporty chick. Do you agree?
P.S. The London 2012 Paralympic Games started on Wednesday and go until September 9th. You can find more info here.