At the Olympics, Everyone’s Looking. Especially at the Men.

Call them the “Magic Mike” Olympics.

The Games have always meant different things to different people, whether they are fans of popular sports, passionate adherents of niche activities like air rifle shooting or the hammer throw, or those who enjoy tracking any athletic endeavor at the championship level.

Another cohort following the Olympics, though, does so without much knowledge or even interest in the rules and arcana. They are the armchair voyeurs, excited by the sight of bodies at the peak of perfection. That those bodies are often clad in uniforms leaving little to the imagination is part of the appeal.

It’s hard to imagine in earlier and more puritanical times a feature like “36 of the Greatest Summer Olympic Bulges” appearing in a mainstream American magazine, even one as prurient as Cosmopolitan. Yet fashions shift in all things. And a Cosmo slide show that captures and rates the genital endowments of various male athletes almost immediately went viral across social media. Unprintable here, the subheadline even suggests awarding gold medals for exceptional, uh, performance.

Bulges are as inevitable a part of the Summer Games as Bob Costas — still soothingly and reliably prating from the control booth like an automaton from “Tomorrowland.” There is a decided change, however, in the way performance fabrics have increased the visibility of virtually any body part they purport to cover and equally in the frankness of a contemporary viewer’s gaze.

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