During the World CrossFit Championship on Friday, three members of Israel's CrossFit TLV turned heads (and likely reinvigorated some idle gym memberships) by stripping themselves of their shirts mid-competition. It wasn't the brazen display of oiled-up flesh that had one commenter calling it "the craziest thing he'd ever seen," but rather what was revealed underneath: multicolor sports bras.
CrossFit TLV team members Avi Yona, Ram Dover and Gil Lior were mid-competition when one after the other they semi-Magic Mike'd down to their updated uniform.
"That is an interesting choice of attire for one of the male outfits for the TLV," the first commentator immediately said after Leor and Yona simultaneously removed their shirts. "If you're going to rock it, go all the way, and that's certainly what he's doing."
"Very gender neutral," the other commentator added.
By the time Dover crossed the finish line and revealed the last of the sports bra brigade, the crowd was going wild. "Who cares what they're lifting, they're getting the crowd to cheer based on their attire," the first commentator said. "I think this is the first time I have done any competition where I have seen the male athletes rocking the sports bra. So good on them."
Even Reebok, which provided the team with the sports bras, was surprised by the unprecedented gesture. "As part of our support for CrossFit team we have provided the equipment and clothing suited to the sport," Reebok Israel CEO Moshe Sinai said in a statement to pro-Israel organization A Wider Bridge. "We were confident that the bras would be used by the women's team and were surprised to find that the men intended to steal the show."
So what statement was being made by the gesture? Many assumed it was a show of solidarity with Tel Aviv Pride week 2016, which kicked off Sunday. However, according to the team it was merely a way of injecting spirit into the competition.
"We wanted to have fun and show everyone that CrossFit is more than just muscles and lifting heavy stuff," the team's manager, Tal Mager, said in an email. "We wanted to add some color to a very serious event. Our box is a community and our competitors are an amazing example of how CrossFit brings people together and creates new friends."
Perhaps more notable then the gesture itself was the way in which it was received, not just by rabid pandemonium from the crowd, but by the men commenting on the competition, who rather than trivialize the gesture, normalized the act by keeping the focus on the sport at play. Smart, considering the team crushed it.
"I've never seen anything like it and if you back it up with lifting like that, I'm a happy camper," commenter No. 1 said. "You can wear whatever you want if you're throwing this kind of weight around," commenter No. 2 said. It's both gestures and attitudes like these that help deplete the misogyny and homophobia that has riddled sports for years.
The only person worth dinging her is the camera man, whose close-ups were lackluster at bust. Next time, buddy, be better.
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