‘Beauty contests’ at the Olympics?

Another post in Olympic mode in a moment of respite between highlights and live coverage. This one is prompted by wondering how panels of judges manage to evaluate those, to my mind, lesser events where an assessment of ‘ artistic impression’ is involved.

For me, the real events are those where success is measured in absolute terms of ‘Citius, Altius, Fortis’. They include track, swimming, weightlifting and rowing. They do not include events, however compelling,  where a panel of judges makes a subjective, ‘Pulchrior’,  judgement on beauty and artistic impression.

I don’t particularly like it that pitches are often referred to as ‘beauty contests’, an expression more readily associated wih 80’s’ Miss World’ television programmes, high heels, bathing suits and ever-so polite interviews.  However, the description does reflect the fact that, like the gymnasts, no matter how good our content, our technical merit score will be marked down if we ignore the artistic impression.

The champion Olympic gymnasts really work on this. The positive body language, the radiant smile, (even mid somersault), a sense of attack and confidence personified.  When you think about it, the characteristics, apart from the somersaults, that separate the great from the average pitch.

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