Paint the Body Beautiful

Olympian Tattoos

Has anyone noticed the number of Olympic athletes with tattoos on their Olympian bodies? Kinda hard not to. It’s almost like if you don’t have a tattoo that’s why you’re not winning! Someone needs to study the incidence of athletes with and without tattoos, and the relationship to medals won. Totally based on my unscientific intuition, I bet you those with tattoos win more.

…And then again, there’s Usain Bolt, who has none! OK, maybe one has nothing to do with the other, but think about it, people with tattoos have conviction, are fearless and know what they want. I don’t have any tattoos myself—hey, I’m in the temporary tattoo business, right?—so I say this, not from any visceral experience, but I figure you have to own those qualities if you permanently mark your body with an image, symbol, phrase or word. Who knows if you’ll later wish you hadn’t done it. That’s not the point. The point is you had enough guts to do it.

So many people have tattoos now that some consider it frivolous or merely a fashion statement, or a trend. But I don’t believe the trend theory for a minute. For one thing it’s been going on for way too long with no sign of abatement. Whatever the reasons for imprinting indelible messages on your body, they’re real to you, and that’s all that matters.

Whether someone thinks your tattoos are beautiful, ugly, works of art or a stupid mess, that’s their problem, isn’t it? It’s your tattoo. You own it. It’s yours, and no one can take it away from you, unless you choose to divest yourself of it through laser removal, which no one thinks is the most fun or successful experience in the world.

People who get inked are making a statement about who they are—whatever that may be. And in the case of athletes, I’m willing to bet the statement has something to do with I can win this thing. I’ve got what it takes.

Time to put some skin in the game, y’all! So maybe you start with a temporary tattoo and see how you like it. That’s one way to get started on the road to expressing yourself. And then see where that expression takes you.

Image: American soccer star Natasha Kai,; Photo credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images North America