Former Matildas star Tracy McGovern insists she has no regrets about posing for controversial nude calendar in 1999
Former Australia star Tracy McGovern insists she has no regrets about appearing in a nude calendar 24 years ago.
The Matildas made headlines around the world in 1999 when some of their players posed topless to raise funds and attention ahead of the Olympic Games in Sydney.
‘It was mainly about profile,’ McGovern, now 45, who has been ruled out of the Olympics due to injury, told BBC Sport. ‘We wanted to get seats at the Games, but I don’t think any of us expected the attention we got.
‘Many people knew me as Miss January.’
McGovern’s solo shot is accompanied by a personal message in which he attributes his success to the support of his friends and family.
A former Matilda insists she has no regrets about posing for a nude calendar in 1999
Tracie McGovern said she chose the feature to help raise the profile of the Matildas
The 45-year-old has no regrets about the calendar, though some of his teammates still harbor a sense of shame for the project.
‘I had a great time, although the team shot was a bit awkward,’ she says. ‘We all got our clothes on, we got into position and then we threw the clothes off, took photos and then scrambled to get them back.’
In the 1990s, nude calendars were a common fundraising tool, although the Matildas were criticized by police for the project from some quarters, with some shocked by how naked the players were.
‘There were some feminists who felt we had sold out,’ she says. ‘I fully respect that opinion and not all of the team took part in the calendar photo shoot. I did it for my own personal reasons. And then I did it for the greater good of the team. I think we have achieved that goal.’
McGovern, who is part of a group of former players joining the Australian delegation for the tournament, added that she agreed to take part because she wanted to defy sexist attitudes towards female footballers.
‘As a little kid growing up playing football, a lot of people commented on my body because I was athletic,’ he says.
‘I had footballer’s legs. I no longer wanted to be ashamed of my athletic body, so what better way to announce it and say ‘I’m here’? This is me naked. This is my naked truth.’
Former Matilda Amy Taylor poses with a nude photo of herself from the 1999 project
Ex-Matilda Bridget star posed nude for calendar, which drew criticism for how nude it was
Although McGovern has chosen to speak freely about the calendar, he admits that some of his old teammates still carry a sense of shame about the project.
‘It was controversial, but again we got people going to our games and we got the name out there. Could we have done it any other way? I’m not sure,’ she says.
‘I really hope people start to embrace that part of history and not be ashamed of it.’
Fast forward 24 years and the experience of the current crop of Matildas is vastly superior to the situation McGovern’s team faced.
“We didn’t have the funding and infrastructure around them that they do today,” he said.
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