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Fourth-Place Medal

Is ice bathing the Olympic Tebowing? It sure looks like it

Fourth-Place Medal

When you're trying to diagnose an emerging phenomena, one need look no further than Twitter. Now, a day before the 2012 Olympic Games officially open, we may already have the London Games' response to Tebowing: Posed ice bathing.

The U.S. women's gymnastics team engages in some seductive foot and ankle chilling — Instagram

The U.S. women's gymnastics team engages in some seductive foot and ankle chilling — Instagram

As first noted by the New York Times, no fewer than seven Olympic athletes took to the Twitterverse to ice bathe luxuriously, seductively or, at the very least, frigidly.

There was U.S. gymnast Alexandra Raisman quite literally cooling her heels with high-profile teammates. There was Jamaican 100-meter contender Yohan Blake offering a steely stare from inside the most un-Jamaican environment possible.

[ Related: Ryan Lochte caught 'cozing up' with Aussie swimmer ]

South African swimmer Jessica Roux appeared to be completely enveloped in a unique, plastic-looking ice bathing tub (is it called a tub? What DO you call an ice bathing receptacle?), while Victoria Moors and the rest of the Canadian gymnastics team appeared to be somewhere between popsicle and slushy while standing knee deep in freezing water.

Yohan Blake takes an icy dip - Twitter

Jessica Roux in her bouncy ice bath - Twitter

In fact, that's the only thing that all these ice bathing athletes have had in common: They can't hide just how cold they really are ... with one significant exception. Somehow, members of the South African men's swimming team found a way to make a full body ice bath look like a hot tub shot. The photo, tweeted out by Graeme Moore, showcased four South African racers lounging in an enormous ice bath as if they were prepping for a GQ photo shoot. In fact, they looked so convincing, maybe someone should line them up for a cover soon.

Graeme Moore and his South African swim 'bros' chill out in an ice bath — Twitter

Graeme Moore and his South African swim 'bros' chill out in an ice bath — Twitter

It will be hard for these preliminary ice bath antics to strike with the timeliness of Tebowing, in large part because there aren't any ice baths sitting right next to pool decks, gymnastic floors, basketball courts or soccer fields, to name but a few of the key fields of play. Perhaps there's still time to install one near a fencing strip, but it's not worth holding one's breath.

Lacking that celebratory punch, ice bathing is going to have a heck of a time reaching Tebowing status, though that hardly diminishes just how strong a start it has as an Olympic phenomenon. At this point, we may be just one Instagram pic of Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant in an ice bath with horrid shirts and wide frame glasses next to the tub away from inspiring teens everywhere to search for the nearest ice bath to tweet themselves chilling out, so to speak.

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