By Laura Pappano
As a Sports Illustrated subscriber, I just want to offer a big “Thank You” for all the recent coverage of Lindsey Vonn – or should I say “un”-coverage?
If crazy feminists got all in a wad about last week’s cover photo of Vonn, I can only imagine what they think now that she’s on the slopes in ski boots – and a bikini!
Fortunately, I’m one of those fans grateful to see female athletes get any sort of attention, so seeing four Olympians – snowboarders Hannah Teter, and Clair Bidez and skiers Vonn and Lacy Schnoor – all oiled up for the SI Swimsuit issue looked like a gold medal move to me.
The way I see it, if we get enough guys paying attention (er stalking) their favorite sexy female athletes, we should see the Nielsen ratings for women’s sporting events take off. Wasn’t it Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, who pointed out that women should wear “more feminine” uniforms and tighter shorts to boost fan interest?
The logic is obvious: While people are busy checking out the players’ physical attributes they will OH BY THE WAY notice that, geez, there is some good athletic play going on. Build the fan base one string bikini at a time.
The matter, of course, is that if women are going play sports, they should be providing entertainment – and serious athletic performance is, apparently, not entertainment enough.
I say, apply the Powell Doctrine to sex appeal in women’s sports. Don’t just appear sexy on occasion, but – heck – be all about sexy. Swimsuit calendars – the Women’s Professional Squash Association just made one – should be mandatory for professional leagues.
College teams should dive in, too (pardon the pun). Why should men’s football and basketball monopolize media attention when young females are playing with balls? When I tune into ESPN2, I’d like to see a women’s college basketball game (at a time other than noon). So do up the hair, get that make-up straight and, for gosh sake, pare down the fabric on those uniforms!
It could even be a smart move to do what they did in the 1950s: Hold half-time beauty pageant among players, crowning one “Queen of the Court.” (way better than MVP’s) And maybe instead of having an NCAA playoff bracket, we could hold a giant beauty pageant with – yes! – a swimsuit competition. (Then we would really know which teams were worth watching.)
So, thanks, SI, for exposing readers to some skilled female athletes ahead of the Winter Olympics. I can hardly wait for your March Madness preview issue!