Usually I am quite on board with editorials and columns that bemoan the sexualization of female athletes. But there's the thing: it's not news anymore; it's not a new argument; sports and gender scholars are doing excellent research on the issue. So if you're going to say something about the sexualization of female athletes you better say something interesting and smart.
That is not what Bernie Lincicome did in a column in Rocky Mountain News a few weeks ago. The piece, called "Female sports heroes vanishing," signs a sad song about how all the good ones like Mia Hamm, Nancy Lopez, Billie Jean King and now Annika Sorenstam and Justine Henin, are leaving and there's no one to take their places. Oh wait there's Danica Patrick and Natalie Gulbis and Maria Sharapova all of whom Lincicome thinks are overrated because their results have not lived up to their looks.
Wait, wait, wait--Maria Sharapova? I don't think winning 3 grand slam tournaments constitutes overratedness. And Gulbis has won a tournament--though she did horribly last weekend in Maryland and of course Patrick won her first race in Japan and was doing well at Indy until she got knocked out.
Lincicome also is disappointed at the lack of discord created (or rather not created) by Sorenstam and Henin's respective retirements which is attributed to their lack of good looks including Henin's "European teeth." Hmmm...so you're going to complain about how female athletes are being judged by their appearance rather than their performances and then talk about their appearances??
Also what Lincicome doesn't understand is that most of the heroes he names are still involved in sports. BJK obviously is just all over the place--more active now than in her playing days and arguably contributing more. I see Nancy Lopez make public appearances to promote the women's game. I don't know what Henin's plans are--she has always been a little more private--but Sorenstam is sticking around the sport. Just as others before her have done in their respective sports.