Sports

20-Year-Old Diver Is The Victim Of More Sexist Media Coverage Of The Olympics

by Eric Pfeiffer

August 23, 2016

In case there was any doubt, the media just locked down its grip on this year’s Olympic gold medal for sexism.

The peak example may just be how fans and the media decided to handle reports of a “split” between Brazilian Olympic diving duo Ingrid de Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso the night before their competition.

As Mic reports, the pair were roommates in Rio and reportedly had a falling out after Oliveira engaged in what news sites referred to as a “marathon sex session” with canoeist named Pedro Goncalves. With breathless updates, sites like the New York Post described Oliveira as getting “wet and wild” with Goncalves, a fellow Brazilian.

We’re not saying the story wasn’t worth covering. After all, Pedroso herself blamed the night of “fun” for the duo’s last place finish in the 10-meter synchronized event the following morning. She was reportedly locked out of their shared room and the lack of sleep left her tired before the next morning’s event. “I have been waiting for four years to be present at the Olympics,” she told Brazilian newspaper O Globo. “And for her it was better to have fun and therefore threw me out of the room.”

Was it a poor example of sportsmanship and professionalism? Those questions are entirely fair to ask.

Instead, much of the media coverage centered on slut shaming the 20-year-old Olympic athlete for having sex the night before her competition, which was followed up by a wave of personal attacks from people leaving insulting comments on her Instagram account. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail tried to create a virtual slut shaming paper trail, referring to Oliveira as having posed in “provocative” outfits before a 2015 competition. The outfit in question? The swimsuit she wears as part of her sport. And the questionable location? The diving board from which she directly competes.

As for Goncalves – he was celebrated in a number of publications – with photos of her flexing his muscles over the alleged incident. However, when one publication tried to interview him, Goncalves refused, saying his personal life was not up for discussion. The media and fans alike seemed to largely respect his request, turning their judgmental attention back to the female athletes. ATTN has a list of other examples across the international media of how Oliveira was covered, including a headline from BET that made up derogatory words “sex crazed” and actions “sleep deprived” that weren’t actually said by anyone involved in the story.

Giovanna Pedroso herself said the pair had disagreements preceding Rio and that she plans to focus on solo competitions moving forward, with the 17-year-old showing a level of maturity apparently lacking in a number of fans and media publications alike.

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