Earlier this week, U.S. pole vaulter Jenn Stuczynski vaulted to a silver medal, her brown curls flying behind her. Stuczynski holds the American women's record, jumping 16 feet, 1.75 inches.
BEIJING – The hair is unbearably short now. It is curly and cropped close to his cauliflower ears, the victim of a scissor-happy barber in Beijing. The woman wouldn't stop cutting. Before Ben Askren knew it, 5 inches were on the floor.
This is how badly Askren wants to win a gold medal — he shed his coveted locks, his trademark — because the international guys like to pull on them when they wrestle. Unfortunately, the haircut didn't help him accomplish his goal.
Ben Askren couldn't get past veteran Ivan Fundora in Wednesday's 74kg freestyle match. Fundora wins the first period 3-1, and the "USA" chants can't help Askren. He falls behind 2-0, then 4-0.
He stands with his hands on his hips when it's over and the Cuban moves on.
"I don't know what you want to hear from me," Askren says. "My dreams are crushed. I just wasn't good enough."
Two weeks, and he's done in two hours. Askren says he doesn't know where he'll go from here. There has been talk that he'll try mixed martial arts, but his coach, Shawn Charles, is sure Askren will be back. He couldn't end it this way.
Read more about Askren.
For the second time in two tries, Venus and Serena won the doubles gold medals at the Olympics, beating a team from Spain on Sunday at the Olympic tennis complex. But this time, the Williams sisters sported newly natural 'dos. Venus is wearing her hair in a short 'fro, while Serena has a curly bob.
When Venus first unveiled her new 'do, she explained: “I’ve nominated not to straighten it. It’s very, very ‘70s.”
Margaret Hoelzer churns her way to a spot on the podium Thursday night. (AP photo)
Hoelzer's curls look cute and carefree. (AP photo)
United States curly swimmer Margaret Hoelzer earned a bronze medal in the 100-m backstroke event in Beijing Thursday night, and proudly showed off her curls in a quick but cute upswept podium 'do.
And while the two-time Olympian may wear a bathing camp in the pool, her trademark curls have made it onto a T-shirt.
A specially designed shirt reading "Can't Hoelzer Back," with the curly-haired swimmer doing the backstroke, has been created for her fans to wear. The proceeds from the sale of the T-shirt go to the National Children's Advocacy Center, a charity supported by the Huntsville, Ala., swimmer. The T-shirts are $20 and may be ordered by calling 256-327-3780.
Even Beijing's humidity was no match for the curls of two-time world champion beach volleyballer Emanuel Rego — the original "King of the Beach."
Speedy Swimmer is Known for his Curls
Ryan Lochte is one of the stars of the men's Olympic swim team. He swam the third leg of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay Tuesday, helping the United States smash the world record by 4.68 seconds. But to hear his fans talk about him, while his swimming skills are find and dandy, they'd prefer to discuss his curly good looks. Just check into some of the recent chatter about him on message boards around the world:
"There is something about Ryan's curly hair that gave him this sweet innocent angel look."
"He's a curly-topped dish."
"Aww, I love Ryan Lochte's curly hair."
"I like the big old curly mop look on him. Well, he does need a little trim."
Curly U.S. Fencer Gets the Bronze
U.S. Olympic fencer Becca Ward wins the bronze in sabre. She helped the Americans sweep the individual sabre event. Fencing helmets obviously weren't created with curls in mind.
— Source: Wire services
Korean Medal Winner Gives Curls Special Treatment
Park Tae-hwan, who won the first swimming gold for Korea in the men's 400-m freestyle competition at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday, takes special care to protect his curls from the chlorine. Park Jung-ryool, the owner of "She Jak," (a hair salon) has taken care of his hair for about three years. "He seems to pay as much attention to his hairstyle as other young men. He often has hair and scalp treatment because he has curly hair and his hair is often damaged by the water in the swimming pool."
— Source: Wire services
Breaking Olympic News: Ben's Hair is History!
It won't exactly be Samson and Delilah, but a haircut of Olympic proportions will be performed on former Missouri wrestler Ben Askren in the next few days in the athletes' village.
"I'll do it in one of the free barbershops," said Askren, who will compete in freestyle wrestling Aug. 20 at 163 pounds.
Askren's long, curly hair has been his trademark, as have his freewheeling wrestling style and the swagger that comes with it. But the hair became so symbolic that high school wrestlers and fans at Mizzou matches came dressed in wigs.
But reality set in at the World Cup in February, when Askren faced a Russian named Denis Tsargush. "He grabbed my hair," Askren said. Tsargush beat him.
— Source: Wire services