Golfing superstar Lydia Ko made headlines this week when she talked about period pain in a post-match interview.
When an American reporter asked her about the ‘on-course treatment’ she needed for back pain, Lydia simply said ‘it’s that time of the month’.
Her comment left the male sports reporter a little lost for words, after an awkward pause he responded ‘um thanks’.....yeah, real mature of him.
But Lydia isn’t the first sports star to talk about their period, she’s part of a (red) wave of female athletes who have caused 'controversy’ over the past few years by discussing their periods in a matter of fact way, and we are here for it!
Valerie Adams has talked openly about her Endometriosis diagnosis and how she often has to power through bad period pain during training. Speaking about it in a 2020 interview she said “My pain threshold is through the roof”. We don’t doubt that.
In 2016 a post-match interview with Chinese Olympian Fu Yuanhui went viral around the world when she mentioned her period. Fu Yuanhui wasn’t happy with how her race had gone and said “My period started last night, so I’m feeling pretty weak and tired”. As one of the most popular athletes in China her unashamed attitude broke taboos and prompted international discussion.
American soccer player and 2019 FIFA player of the year Megan Rapinoe is another sports star smashing expectations about how and when women should speak about their own bodies.
She tweeted “We get Periods, whatever”
We love that more athletes are talking about periods. It’s crazy that anyone should feel embarrassed to talk about menstruation these days.
It’s not just period pain and those sluggish PMS-y feelings that female sporting stars are openly discussing.
New York City Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan has criticised a disregard for menstrual health that has been normalised in many sporting circles.
One study found that 25% of elite female athletes reported ‘chronically missing their periods’ something which - just so we are clear - is not healthy and not normal. Obviously those numbers are scary, especially when athletes are held up as role models of fitness and the peak of physical health.
Lucky we have sports women like Lydia Ko keeping it real and talking about periods with no shame. The more we talk about it, the less of a deal it will be, and the more society will understand the issue for everyday women.
It shouldn't have to be a big deal that Ko needed pain relief for that time of the month, but we are glad she is talking about it.