I have to admit I have about zero interest in the Olympics, but I do browse the many, many articles on Olympic tattoos — for example, Oddee ran one a couple days ago that had an interesting mention of “sponsorship tattoos” (ie. selling your skin as adspace on eBay). However, most of the tattoos are quite generic, or just symbols of the corporate games which are no more interesting to me than a Nike swoosh — not that I begrudge any athlete getting them because of the immense significance to their lives. But a tattoo that caught my eye on a deeper level is that of Ele Opeloge, a Samoan female weightlifter in the +75kg category who I believe is actually competing today.
As you can see in that picture of her competing at the Bejing 2008 Olympics, she wears the “malu”, which was part of a coming-of-age ritual for her, symbolizing both maturity and a respect for the Samoan culture, society, and history. It’s refreshing to see similar tattoos on many Polynesian athletes — and you’ll also see them celebrating their culture in related ways, for example Maori rugby players doing the haka wardance before matches. In the picture below you can click to zoom in to get a better look at Ele’s tattoos
PS. Notice her “scarification by weightlifting” on her shins?