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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tattoos Are Cool, But Not For All

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Olympic swimmer Casey Barrett wrote a commentary in Swimming World Magazine on the International Olympic Committee's recent position regarding tattoos among athletes competing in international competitions [read here].

Barrett, who himself got a tattoo before he competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, observed, "The Olympic rings tattoo – that’s one you’ll never regret. And over the last thirty years, it’s become more and more de rigueur among newly minted body proud Olympians. Except now apparently it’s illegal.

On Monday, May 2nd, British Paralympic champion Josef Criag was disqualified at the IPC European Swimming Championships because the 19-year-old has a tattoo of the rings emblazoned over his heart. He was DQ’ed after his prelims swim in the 100 freestyle - because the tattoo of those rings “breached advertising regulations.” Said the utterly out of touch spokesman for the Paralympic International Committee: “Body advertising is not allowed in any way whatsoever and that includes the Olympic rings. The athlete did not wear a cover and was therefore disqualified

Barrett took offense to the Paralympic International Committee's decision. "There are so many things wrong with this that one sputters trying to put the outraged thoughts in order. A tattoo of the Olympic rings is advertising?"

Tattoos are increasingly common among many open water swimmers - arguably emblazoned on swimmers' skin about the same percentage as is common among the younger generations from California to Copenhagen. While Barrett makes several points about the IOC's decision and calls for swimmers to show their tattoos in an online protest, tattoos are still seen negatively by certain circle among some national governing bodies.

In fact, there are at least a few national governing bodies that do not allow any tattoos of any sort on the athletes who represent their country in domestic and international competitions. Japan is one example.

With a history of tattoos primarily (and almost exclusively) by the Japanese yakuza [mafia], there remains a strong social stigma to having tattoos at least among the general Japan population. And this stigma is mirrored among decision-makers at organizations that govern the selection of their athletic representatives.

Other articles on tattoos on open water swimmers:

* My Trident Is A Permanent Good Luck Charm
* Some Skin Shark Scene
* Trident Tattoos Becoming Quite The Splash
* Asian Tattoos For Swimmers
* Beavers And Octupi
* When Skin Is In The Game, Swimming Country By Country
* Creating Lightning In The Ocean
* Husband And Wife Share Common Goals
* Gábor Molnár Completes Swim In The Körös River
* Thomas Lurz, German Consistency At The Top In Open Water
* Tattoos Of The Open Water Swimming World
* Poseidon Adventure In The Serpentine
* Open Water Swimming Making Their Marks With Tattoos

Italian Olympic marathon swimmer Rachele Bruni is shown above with her selection of tattoos.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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