“It’s not meant to be a slight on women at all”

// 25 November 2009

Some interesting stories involving women and sport in today’s Metro (I know, I know)…

First up, Sir Ian Botham talks about his new book, My Sporting Heroes, and the interviewer asks him why all but one of his heroes are men. Botham replies: “It’s probably because I know more about their sports. It’s not meant to be a slight on women at all. In fact that might be something we look at.”

And he has a point. Women’s sport is under-represented in the media. I’m fascinated by his comment about it being “something we look at”. Will Sir Ian become a campaigner to promote women’s sport? If anyone can do it, he can.

Second, an Olympic athlete whose German national high jump record was declared null in 1936 because she was Jewish has seen it put back into the record books. Margaret Lambert, who was previously called Gretel Bergmann, jumped 2.2m in Stuttgart on June 30th 1936, but it was wiped out a fortnight later. Now the country’s athletic association has restored the record and requested her inclusion in Germany’s sports hall of fame. Lambert is now 95, living in New York, and is delighted. “That’s very nice and I appreciate it,” she’s quoted as saying.

And finally congratulations to Charlotte Edwards, captain of the England cricket team, who picked up her MBE from the Princess Royal yesterday.

Comments From You

Kez // Posted 25 November 2009 at 2:37 pm

I don’t know who the sporting heroes in Botham’s book are (except that Tanni Gray-Thompson is the only woman) but I’m amazed that he didn’t see fit to include Paula Radcliffe (world marathon record holder, among other UK and world records) and Kelly Holmes (winner of 2 Olympic gold medals and a great ambassador for women’s athletics). These are women everyone has heard of.

earwicga // Posted 25 November 2009 at 8:24 pm

I think the clue is the word ‘My’ in the title of Botham’s book.

I’m really not sure if a person’s heroes have to be anything but a personal choice. If I was to chose my top ten heroes I very much doubt that any man would appear on it, and I wouldn’t expect that list to be considered sexist either.

Sarah // Posted 26 November 2009 at 11:42 am

I agree ‘heroes’ are a personal thing, and don’t think this means Botham is a sexist – it’s just that the fact that his (and presumably many people’s) sporting heroes just happen to be all men is indicative of the invisibility of women in sport, or the under-represenatation of women’s sports teams in the media.

Also, I guess, it’s indicative of his age and gender and the particular sports he’s interested in (cricket has traditionally been considered very much a boy’s/man’s sport – when I was at school the girls weren’t even allowed to play it, same for football). If you asked a young woman or girl about her sporting heroes, she might well mention Rebecca Adlington or Victoria Pendleton, for example. Not that I think the problem is competely solved in the younger generation, but things are starting to change.

Janis // Posted 27 November 2009 at 6:25 am

Ha! Kez is spot on. I have an almost complete sports filter and even I have heard of those two athletes. Oh, and Fatima Whitbread.

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