Bourjaily: Naked Biathletes vs. Booth Babes

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A friend of mine - a former member of the US women's ski team and a Class A sporting clays competitor -- once looked out over the crowd at a gun club and observed: "Shooting is not exactly a hardbody sport." The exception to that understatement would be biathlon, which combines the extreme physical demands of cross-country ski racing with shooting.

This is a picture of the Canadian women's Olympic biathlon team wearing nothing but rifles. The shot comes from the fundraising calendar sold on the website boldbeautifulbiathlon.com. On the homepage they claim: "Our goal is to empower and inspire women and girls by expressing the beauty of a healthy, athletic body."

The calendar sold out. Somehow I doubt it was women and girls who bought them all. In fact, we posted a gallery of the fund raiser and photo shoot in January 2009.

Even as I post this picture, I would say that Holly "Why I hate the booth babe story" Heyser made a valid point that we have to be conscious of the images we present if we want to broaden participation in shooting and hunting. So, in that light, today's question is: do you think there's a difference between booth babes and naked biathletes?