U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team Wants to Compete Shirtless to Attract Viewers
The U.S. men’s gymnastics team has an odd request: Objectify us!
With hopes of gaining new fans and increasing viewership for their events, the gymnasts are suggesting they go shirtless and show off their ripped bodies (which have plenty of admirers on Instagram) during competitions.
While the women’s team boasts a huge number of fans eagerly awaiting each time one of the female gymnasts hits the mats, the men’s team has yet to see that kind of attention.
“Maybe compete with our shirts off,” gymnast Sam Mikulak suggests as a solution in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “People make fun of us for wearing tights. But if they saw how yoked we are maybe that would make a difference.”
Teammate Jake Dalton agrees, adding that exposing their abs and arm muscles would draw attention to the technique and finesse of the sport, and ideally give them more respect.
“We have great physiques,” he adds. “Incredible physiques.”
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But teammate Danell Levya tells the WSJ he understands why the women’s team has better fans – they win more often. In fact, while they prepare to likely win their second-straight team gold this Olympics, and collect plenty of individual medals too, the men haven’t won gold since 1984.
Levya says that Simone Biles and her teammates “should be popular – and even more popular.”
“It’s one of the few events in this country where women do get the amount of credit they deserve.”
Road to Rio: The U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team
But the men’s chances are looking up. They unexpectedly finished second in the team qualifier, behind China, and have a serious shot at gold during the team finals Monday.
“My expectations in Rio are to come out with gold,” Mikulak told PEOPLE in June. “We don’t just want to be on the medal stand. That’s a good feeling, but it’s not our mentality – we want to be a gold medal team.”
To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Rio Olympics are currently airing on NBC.