Against a current
Let’s start from the beginning. We are in Tokyo, at the aquatic center, a few moments before the Olympic final of the 50m freestyle, and Florent Manaudou, 30, is in full concentration. Rid of his civilian clothes but not yet quite ready to go for the silver medal (the American Caeleb Dressel will climb to the first place of the podium), he is both in a tracksuit and shirtless, cap on the head and glasses on the eyes but shoes and socks on the feet. Stylistically, it is therefore between two waters. Not to say, in troubled waters.
Obviously, there are extenuating circumstances. If the French swimmer already has, for example, his glasses on his eyes, it is because their installation is part of a precise procedure, requiring calm and external help. For some swimmers, the dread of seeing the goggles move during the race is such that they wear two cups one on top of the other. The first, in latex, has the task of flattening the hair. The second, in silicone, ensures the perfect support of the glasses, while guaranteeing an optimal entry into the water.
This model of long and tight swimsuit, called “jammer”, optimizes performance while respecting the rules of the International Swimming Federation. The appearance, in 2008, of full polyurethane wetsuits significantly improving performance forced the Federation to prohibit the material, but also to impose that the jerseys do not rise above the navel or go below the knees. The Arena model by Florent Manaudou is made of 52% polyamide, 47% elastane and 1% carbon fiber.
Not cool plastic
The composition of the white chair placed behind the champion is less complicated. This is a vulgar plastic model, of those found on the terraces of the less sophisticated (and less eco-friendly) bars, generally accompanied by an advertising umbrella offered by an alcoholic. But this chair will at least have the advantage of allowing Florent Manaudou to sit down to finish getting ready, and in particular to take off his shoes and socks. It’s already that.
In this charmless setting, how can we not, in the end, come back to the body? Note that the fascination with the abdominals is not the result of the democratization of sports halls or the obsession with appearing on Instagram (#sixpack). If a cozy body was a sign of good health for a long time, things started to change at the end of the 19th century.e century, when the first bodybuilders appeared, among them the German star Eugen Sandow. Obsessed with the muscular ideal of ancient statues, he made abs a criterion of male beauty. Florent Manaudou can therefore thank him. Us a little less.