Korean-born New Zealand pro golfer Lydia Ko has been celebrated for normalising periods in sport after making a simple comment to a male reporter following an LPGA event.
The world no. 3 required her physiotherapist mid-way through the final round of the championship she was playing in California on Sunday, May 1. She was stretched before returning to play and finish the round, coming in second place.
In the aftermath, a commentator for Golf Channel, Jerry Foltz questioned Ko about the moment, asking if it would be a recurring issue.
“I hope not,” Ko said, beginning to smile.
“It’s that time of the month,” she laughed, adding to the camera, “I know the ladies watching are probably like, ‘Yeah, I got you.'”
The talented golfer added that when she has her period, her back gets really tight.
“I’m all twisted. It’s not the first time that Chris [her physiotherapist] has seen me twisted, but it felt a lot better after he came. So, yeah, there you go.”
Ko paused briefly to allow Foltz a response, or to simply ask another question, but when he paused, Ko added: “I know you’re at a loss for words, Jerry. Honesty it is!”
Lydia’s openness has been commended by numerous people both in sport and as spectators, with her words helping to normalise a long overdue conversation for womb owners in sport.
“Imagine being a sports reporter and never discussing a major aspect of female players’ performance,” writer Sophie Walker tweeted.
Former Golf Channel presenter, Lisa Cornwell, also added: “My night (maybe year) has been made.”
Journalist Laura Barton also commented on the irony that Ko’s comments went viral on the day that a draft opinion document suggested major abortion case, Roe Vs. Wade, be overturned in the US, which would heavily restrict a women’s right to have an abortion.
“Also f**king hilarious that the Roe v Wade news comes on the same day a female athlete stuns a reporter by saying her body was affected by having her period. Wombs are not secret, dirty things to be ignored, hidden, legislated,” she powerfully penned.
The conversation around the effect that periods can have on the physical performance of a womb owner is slowly gaining momentum, finally, but Ko’s comments are incredibly important in continuing to push it forward.
New Zealand-based clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo told Today FM that Ko’s dialogue would help to normalise the impacts that periods can have in sports.
“It’s really healthy that we actually mention it as a normal part of sport that has to be factored in, not just physically, but also psychologically. We have to consider that people go through cycles and we have to think about that when we are planning training and events,” she said.
“Menstrual problems are a common part of elite sport, and finally we have a gateway to discuss it. Go Lydia, I say.”