When did you last see a hirsute sportsman? Now, I’m betting not in recent years you haven’t. Think back to London 2012 and you would be pushed to spot even a rogue body hair amongst the whole of Team GB. From Beckham to the British Lions, in sport, pectorals as smooth as glass are no longer just the territory of aerodynamically motivated swimmers and divers.
While the prospect of being photographed frolicking on tour looking like a Neanderthal is probably behind some of the waxing behaviour, there are compelling and very practical reasons that sportsmen give for removing their body hair.
Competitive cyclists and track athletes frequently ditch the fuzz. While some claim it makes them more aerodynamic and faster, others are fans of waxing for a much more practical reason. A slick body slides a lot better so when you inevitably hit the deck at some point in your training schedule, you are less likely to sustain severe grazing from the road or track. If you do hurt yourself, it’s much easier to clean up bare skin and put on dressings. And, importantly, it’s considerably less painful to take these dressings off again. Waxed skin is also much easier to massage which can be surprisingly painful when there is body hair to get tangled up in a therapist’s fingers.
Swimmers have followed the lead of dolphins and removed their body hair for years as a heightened feel for the water and less drag in the pool makes for quicker swim times. Body builders don’t eat freakishly complicated diets and spend hours pumping iron to wear a fur coat over their highly toned bodies. Plus smooth skin makes it is easier to apply oils and tanning lotions, just saying.