As someone who writes about popular culture, I have to shake my head and laugh rather than vigorously bashing it into my desk. Such is the case with Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report, a piece so sexist, so insulting, so foolishly written, and that reflects so poorly on the writer that it’s astonishing that someone thought it passed muster. The concept is simple: help heterosexual dudes spot attractive women at the Olympic games (God forbid women admire the bodies of any competitors), and remind them that the important thing isn’t that these women have trained their entire lives to prove that they’re preeminent in their fields, but they’re available to be ogled by viewers at home. Along the way, Delatte reveals that he doesn’t know much about a lot of Olympic sports, but that he’s a gold medal contender in the field of condescending grossness. What follows are the fifteen (out of one hundred profiles) most astonishingly awful things Delatte has to say about female Olympians from around the world, in no particular order:
1. “Maja Wloszczowska won a silver in the women’s cross-country back in 2008 and is back for gold. As long as she wears those sexy bike tights, I don’t mind her returning every four years.”: Because she’s there for you, not for her, or for her country or anything like that.
2. “It is an Olympic year and that means we get to meet all kinds of new hotties like Stacey.”: Wait, you mean this isn’t an international effort to promote peace and unity? It’s a Maxim fan convention? Thanks for clarifying it!
3. “If the soccer thing doesn’t work out—and we already know it will, but if it doesn’t—she can just become a WAG. She is dating Jrue Holiday.”: Here that, fellow working women? Marriage is the exact equivalent of obtaining your own professional goals!
4. “Rowing is a sport that gets no love. That might be because, unless you have grown up around the sport, it is boring. You are watching a team of women row a boat faster than the other women. Uh, yawn. But there is a six-foot, 157-pound reason to enjoy it this year. Her name is Gevvie Stone.”: Apparently mastering the nuances of, say, football or basketball, leaves no room for understanding the strategy of any other sport except OMG HOT GIRLS.
5. “If she doesn’t win anything in London, at least she can go home as part of the hottest Czech Republic duo in beach volleyball.”: Someone needs a lesson in false equivalencIes.
6. “I could have included the Romy Tarangul Playboy pictorial from 2008, but then my boss would have ended this slideshow at 81.”: Subtext: GOD MY EDITOR IS A BUZZKILL, RIGHT FELLAS?
7. “Yes, she is not one of the hottest female tennis players in the world, but her amazing figure makes up for any lack of beauty elsewhere. That is a fact.”: I would love to see if Delatte has the courage to say this to the Williams’ sisters IN PERSON.
8. “Rachel Yurkovich makes throwing a javelin look easy. She also makes it look sexy, but you have to be careful how you say that so it doesn’t sound, well, inappropriate.”: Seriously, you’re a grown man and you’re still this excited to make a penis joke?
9. “If Sophie Polkamp, a great name, wants to retire after this year, I think she would have no problems getting a job as a model in the States.”: One of these things is not like the other.
10. “Beach volleyball is a terrific sport. It allows me an excuse to show everyone pictures of women in bikini’s, and I can’t get in trouble for it, either. It is a loophole in the system that I have discovered. Maybe I shouldn’t have given away my secret.”: You…you do realize that you’re not actually getting away with being a ogling creep here, right?
11. “It appears that field hockey is going to have an argument for the sport with the most amount of hotties. Every time I pull up another hottie, she plays field hockey.”: Correlation is not the same thing as causation.
12. “Elsa Baquerizo is living in New York but plays for Spain. She hasn’t been all that impressive in international play, finishing as high as fourth place twice.But since this is more about the beauty and less about the talent, she doesn’t have to worry about winning to be noticed.”: There’s actually something refreshing about how blunt this is. At least Delatte isn’t trying to claim to be anything other than vile.
13. “What sport does Lauren Sesselmann play? Soccer? Really? This has got to be a joke. She needs to be a volleyball star instead. Too much clothing in soccer for her.”: God forbid women pick the sports they play based on talent and affinity rather than what gets Delatte his jollies.
14. “If you had to guess where Hanna-Maria Seppala is from, which country, based on this photo alone, would you guess? Did you guess Sweden? Well, you’re wrong. She is from Finland, and boy is she attractive. She might be ripped, but she is still one of the hottest women in the world, period.”: It’s nice to know under which conditions Delatte finds muscles sexy rather than masculine and gross.
15. “I think I may have just become a fan of the Dominican Republic. Anyone else? Milagros Cabral can work a volleyball uniform, too. She might not make the team heading to London this year but if she does, please tell me the schedule of games. Thanks.”: Because the thing that makes other countries and cultures attractive is the sexual availability of women.