Wednesday, May 14, 2014

4 Things Isabella Laböcks' appearance in Playboy tells us about the current state of snowboarding

Over a year ago we put together an article looking at what was then a small trickle of professional snowboarders who had taken their kit off for publicity. At that time there were 7 ladies and 5 guys who had given it a try. One of the strange things we noticed around this year's Olympics was that in the space of a few months the total number of female athletes choosing to go down this route has more than doubled with another 8 taking the plunge. What does that mean for snowboarding?...

Trend 1. The number of women are taking their clothes off for publicity has increased rapidly

The trickle hasn't exactly turned into a flood yet, but at this rate, by the time we get to the next Olympics will there be any female snowboarders who will actually be wearing clothes?

Ina Meschik
Parallel Giant Slalom - 4th
We included a bunch of photos from her bonkers photo shoot in Top TENuous 12, which included this just slightly suggestive shot.

Alena Zavarzina
Parallel Giant Slalom - Bronze
Alena was caught suffering from an awkward wardrobe malfunction while frolicking with fellow professional snowboarder Alena Alekhine, in a shoot for a Russian magazine we spotted in Top TENous 11.

Julia Dujmovits
Parallel Slalom - Gold
Julia was another snowboarder we spotted in Top TENous 11 and she loves getting involved in any photo shoot. Since then, she won gold in the parallel slalom and we found a few more pictures.

Although to be fair, Julia Dujmovits, doesn't dress like this to be raunchy, she is genuinely dressing disabled...

Valeruya Tsoy
Parallel Slalom - 32nd Place
Valeruya proved to be the Anna Kournikova of snowboarding and she made an appearance in Top TENuous 10.

Deborah Antonioz
Snowboard Cross - Quarter Finals
Deborah, didn't get all that far this time out but she won silver in the same event in Vancouver and she featured in the latest addition of Top TENuous.

Trend 2. Men don't get anywhere near the same value from baring all.

That's now 15 women to 5 men choosing this publicity route in a sport where the majority of participants are male. That's a very significant difference, particularly given that none of this recent crop were men. It indicates that the publicity benefits for this type of photo soot are heavily weighted towards women, as are the pitfalls.

Elena Hight
Halfpipe - Although she make the US team for Sochi.
But she did take over the role of ESPN body edition's snowboarding representation from the previous occupants Louie Vito (the last man to try this) and Gretchen Bleiler, who featured in our original article.

And she got her baps out in one of the most awkward photo shoot set-ups in all of snowboarding history...

Trend 3. It is escalating not just in terms of the number of people, but in the amount of clothes taken off

After our original article one of the riders we featured, Alexis White, left this comment:

"There was always pressure to pump your female career thru your sexuality if you had some sex appeal, I did, I did it, it's strange and I'm glad I am not in this arena with that kind of pressure any more! Thank God I never did Playboy or anything! I regret nothing and I am glad I am past it."

And now that line has now been crossed...

Isabella Laböck
Parallel Giant Slalom - 1/8 Finals

"Ski-Cross-Ass", the least complimentary way they could possibly find to introduce an Olympic skier

And of course got also her baps out...

Oh right...

You know your not famous enough to do this when you have to write your name on all the photos

In front of massive tea cup

In the massive tea cup

Pretending to be a sexy tea bag

& making the water suspiciously bubbly

4. The less popular the snowboarding event, the less clothes the snowboarders wear

You might have noticed the majority of the riders featured here were slalom competitors (6 out of 8). Slalom has been experiencing declining fortunes for years now, and once again it was the snowboarding event that got the least coverage and viewers at the Olympics:

The more the fortunes of slalom decline, the more the competitors will disrobe in the hunt for more coverage to try and increase their sponsorship money. Just by looking at the stickers on Isabella Laböck's snowboard you can see the difficulty these athletes already have attracting sponsorship. The more the fortunes of alpine snowboarding fall the more likely we are to see this kind of thing in the future.

Extra points to the industrial conveyor manufacturer Budde for their inadvertent cock and balls logo. 

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The original article: The Hypersexualisation of Snowboarding

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