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Tan Man is a nickname given to Norwegian bodybuilder Aleksander Mandahl, who competed in the 2012 Arnold Classic Europe bodybuilding competition. Mandahl became the subject of mockery online after a photograph showing his dark bronzed body contrasting with his pale face was published in the news media.
On October 15th, 2012, The Daily Mail published an article titled “Er, you missed a bit: Bodybuilder’s hilarious fake tan blunder,” which mocked a photograph (shown below) of competitor number 49 from the annual Arnold Classic Europe bodybuilding competition for applying bronzer to only his body.
News Media Coverage
The same day, the photograph was reposted by Gawker, the New York Daily News, The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, which unisonly mocked the contestant for appearing as if he forgot to tan his face. On October 16th, the photograph was featured by Yahoo Sports,USA Today and ABC News. That same day, International Business Times published an article titled “‘Tan Man From Arnold Classic 2012 and Other Bizarre Tanning Photos of Bodybuilders,” which quoted BodyBuilding Forums member Tanji Johnson’s explanation on the importance of tanned skin in body building competitions.
The lights used for stage illumination are quite different from that of natural light or the lights we use in our homes. The stage lights are bright and a person’s skin tone will get washed out if not protected with a tanning product. The darker the skin, the easier it will be for judges to evaluate a person’s body conditioning and muscular development when compared to the other athletes on stage."
On October 15th, member SandEagle of the technology enthusiast AnAndTech Forums submitted the bodybuilder photo in a thread titled “Bodybuilder With a Fake Tan.” That same day, Redditor firstclassshitposter submitted the bodybuilder’s photograph to the /r/photoshopbattlessubreddit, to which several users replied with photoshopped variations of the image, including a version with the head of United States president Barack Obama (shown below,left). According to the Reddit reverse image search Karma Decay, the photograph was resubmitted to Reddit 28 times within the first 48 hours of firstclassshitposter’s original post. On October 17th, a photoshopped version of Tan Man with a woman biting the bodybuilder’s leg was submitted to the message board B3ta with the title “For the last time, I’m not made of chocolate!” (shown below, right).
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