Elite runner Cristin Wurth-Thomas has been on a roll over the past few months. Earlier this month she broke 4:00 in the 1500m in Rome. During the broadcast of that race, one of the commentators noted that her coach had told her that she needed to drop 10 lbs., which she did. While her performance gains over the past few months can’t necessarily all be attributed to her having lost weight, shedding some poundage obviously hasn’t hurt in this case.
Here’s a photo of her looking particularly porky last year (sarcasm!).
When this was mentioned on air, referring to a woman who is sporting a body fat percentage in, maybe, the 18% range (I’m just guessing), it gave me pause. Is it really a good idea to draw attention to the “need to drop 10 lbs.” in a sport already rife with athletes suffering from eating disorders? I had mixed feelings about it. True, it’s helpful to have this kind of insight into why an athlete’s performance may have been boosted. On the other hand, since it’s impossible to know with certainty if weight loss was a factor, it seems…I don’t know…more prudent to just not bother mentioning it.
What do you think? Does the informational value of learning that an athlete (either male or female) has dropped some weight trump the potential harm that such information might cause?