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Rio Olympics 2016: Team USA's male gymnasts say they want to compete topless

When the athletes share shirtless photos like this on social media, they receive a huge positive reaction. Photo / Instagram / @danelljleyva
When the athletes share shirtless photos like this on social media, they receive a huge positive reaction. Photo / Instagram / @danelljleyva

Despite gymnastics being among the most demanding of sports - requiring its athletes to work at the pinnacle of strength, power and toughness - some male gymnasts are feeling like they're less than properly appreciated.

With a women's team that is virtually unbeatable, the USA men's Olympic gymnastics team haven't quite been getting their fair share of the spotlight. However, one of the team members, Sam Mikulak, reckons he might have the solution.

"Maybe compete with our shirts off," he told the Wall Street Journal. "People make fun of us for wearing tights. But if they saw how yoked we are maybe that would make a difference."

Of course, the men are indeed "yoked", which means powerfully built and muscular, and certainly aren't shy about it.

"We have great physiques," Sam's teammate Jake Dalton told the publication. 'Incredible physiques.'

He also said that he believes that showing off their physiques will help to make them more appealing to the fitness crowd looking for role models.

It seems Sam may have come up with the idea after he and his teammates shared images of themselves sunning their scantily clad buff bods down on the beach at Rio - and they subsequently went viral.

Sadly, the team have not been doing quite as well as expected, failing to medal in the Team competition despite qualifying second behind China for the final.

The last time the USA men's team finished on the podium in the event was back in 2008 at Beijing, when they captured a bronze.

The women, on the other hand, are expected to defend their London 2012 gold on Tuesday (local time).

Sam Mikulak is currently fourth in the all-around standings.

A photo posted by USA Gymnastics (@usagym) on


But the guys are not quite as bitter as they may seem about the relative lack of attention, with USA's Danell Leyva hailing the sport as "one of the few events in this country where women do get the amount of credit they deserve."

And although they do seem to think that a focus on their physiques may go some way to raise their profile in the media, they are under no illusion that wracking up more wins won't have that beat.

Athletes who dominate the sport like Kohei Uchimura, the wunderkind gymnast from Japan who has won the world title in the all-around competition no less than six years in a row, and enjoys rockstar level fame in their home countries.

- Daily Mail

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