After 3 days of success stories, tears and losses, the one image that I still can not get out of my mind – the one that stands out the most – is from the opening ceremonies. Three days later, and I am still shocked that Gisele Bundchen was a part of the opening to Rio 2016.
The Olympic Opening ceremonies should do two things: promote international sport and the culture of the hosting country. The first was easily done. All athletes were invited to participate, but some chose not so that they didn’t have to spend so much time on their feet, tiring themselves out and hindering their chances on their day of competition. No matter where you live, watching your national athletes walk into the stadium fills your heart with pride. And if you didn’t see your favorite athlete, your hero, you immediately felt a sense of disappointment. Secondly, even under the tight budget when compared to recent Olympics, Brazilian culture was well represented under Fernando Mereilles’ direction in which he creatively captured Brazilian history, science and entertainment while emphasizing the international importance of the rain forest. But a supermodel? Where exactly does she fit in?
Gisele is Brazilian. That’s it. The Brazilian athletes weren’t singled out so why was she? She is fit and she is married to football player Tom Brady, but neither is a part of Olympic sport. In my eyes, Gisele was there because sex sells.
Is it the low budget that compelled Mereilles to bring her into the opening ceremonies? Was a significant donation made to the event if Gisele strutted her final walk across the stage? The question I keep asking myself, though, is “Aren’t we past the point of using beauty and sex to promote?” Clearly, we are not.
Gisele’s strut screamed, “Look at me. I’m fabulous.” It had nothing to do with sports and it did not represent Brazilian culture. It had no place in an international sporting event.