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. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Surrey city council moving to virtual meetings

For public hearings, people can register to speak via telephone

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases

Second and third phases include 36-storey and 31-storey towers

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Most Read