Twerking request to women’s soccer star had ‘serious consequences’

Ada Hegerberg had just become the first woman to win the Ballon d’Or

The head of a major Canadian women’s sports organization feels a DJ continued a disturbing trend by asking soccer star Ada Hegerberg to twerk after receiving an international award.

Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, the CEO of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, was disappointed French DJ Martin Solveig made the request to Hegerberg after the Norwegian became the first woman to win the Ballon d’Or. The award for top soccer player in the world added recognition for women for the first time on Monday in Paris.

READ MORE: DJ sorry after asking first woman to win prestigious Ballon D’Or to twerk

“I think the message that women get everywhere in society, but very much in sport, very much where bodies are on display, is that what your body looks like is more important than what your body can do,” Sandmeyer-Graves said. ”She just reached the highest pinnacle of accomplishment in a sporting career, and was reduced to just what her body looks like. And with no acknowledgment of her strength and power and skill and strategic mind, and all of those sorts of things that could be highlighted in the moment.

“Research shows that women get four per cent of mainstream media coverage in an Olympic year. Women just aren’t visible on our TVs and in our print media, and when they do show up, this is so often how they get presented.

“This does just keep happening over and over and over again, and it really speaks to just how normalized it is for people to view women through this lens.”

Solveig apologized for the question, tweeting, “I didn’t know that this could be seen as such an offence,” and adding: “This was a joke, probably a bad one.”

Sandmeyer-Graves didn’t see the humour.

“How often do women need to forgive this sort of thing? No, actually, it wasn’t funny. And it had serious consequences,” she said. “People don’t understand just how much this impacts the big picture of women in sport and girls and how they view themselves, and how they feel about what it means to be out in the world.”

View this post on Instagram

WHAT A NIGHT ⭐️ Photo: @ivarwj

A post shared by Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg (@ahegerberg) on

Canadian international soccer goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who has won 116 caps for Canada, wasn’t happy with the twerking request.

“I can only comment on the fact that receiving this award is the greatest achievement for any football player, male or female, and the mention of twerking or a request to do so at such an event is a total insult,” she said in an email to The Canadian Press. “Ada Hegenberg is a wonderful player and I just hope DJ Martin Solveig’s comment doesn’t cloud such an achievement.

“That’s all I can really say — the fact that it was directed towards a woman makes it even worse at a time when women are finally making strides in the football world.”

Tennis star Andy Murray also was critical of Solveig.

“Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport,” Murray wrote on Instagram.

The twerk request was similar to a question posed to Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard at the Australian Open in 2015.

A male presenter conducting an on-court interview with Bouchard at the Grand Slam tournament asked Bouchard to “give us a twirl.”

“A twirl?” the native of Westmount, Que., asked.

“A twirl, like a pirouette, here you go,” coaxed her interviewer, urging the Wimbledon runner-up to show the crowd her outfit, a pink skirt and top with bright yellow straps.

Somewhat uncomfortably, the then-No. 7-ranked player twirled. Then she laughed and buried her face in her hands.

“It was very unexpected,” Bouchard said afterward.

“I don’t know, an old guy asking you to twirl. It was funny.”

— with files from Canadian Press sports reporters Lori Ewing, Neil Davidson and The Associated Press

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade

Staff suggest new designs for future builds to maximize school space

Delta McDonald’s temporarily closed after employees test positive for COVID-19

Two employees at the Annacis Island location (1285 Cliveden Ave.) reported testing positive on Sept. 18

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read