Tracie McGovern, a former Australian footballer who represented the Matildas from 1997 to 2000, is without regret concerning her participation in a nude calendar over two decades ago. Known affectionately as Trae, she’ll be watching the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023, held by Australia and New Zealand from July 20th to August 20th, with a sense of pride and nostalgia.
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Revisiting her calendar photos after 20 years, McGovern, now 45, states, “I don’t regret it at all. I look at that photo after 20 years and I’m proud of it.” The former player, part of the Australian delegation for the tournament, shared this while browsing images from a calendar that was published 24 years prior, featuring an unconventional approach – no footballs, just nude shots.
Life for the Matildas has significantly evolved since 1999. Today’s team enjoys full-time professional status, with some members even attaining celebrity recognition. They are all competing at the home World Cup in sold-out stadiums, a far cry from the conditions McGovern and her peers experienced.
“We didn’t have the funding and the infrastructure around us that they do today,” McGovern explains. Many players of her time balanced part-time jobs to support themselves, even having to sew badges onto their own kits and distribute leaflets to promote their games.
The nude calendar idea was conceived out of desperation for publicity ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a pivotal time for Australian sports. The Matildas needed both funds and recognition, and this seemed like a possible solution.
The focus, according to McGovern, who was sidelined from the Olympics due to injury, was mostly on raising their profile. The response was more overwhelming than they anticipated. The calendar garnered widespread media attention, globally and within Australia.
McGovern, featured as Miss January, fondly remembers the experience, despite the occasional awkwardness during group shots. However, she emphasizes that nude calendars, though startling to some, were becoming a popular fundraising strategy in the 1990s.
The Matildas’ calendar wasn’t without criticism, especially due to the level of nudity. Some argued that it was a betrayal of feminist values. McGovern respects this perspective but defends her participation by stating that she made the decision for personal reasons and for the benefit of the team.
After retiring from football, she transitioned to the mining industry. Many conversations would veer towards the notorious calendar whenever she revealed her football past. McGovern acknowledges the sexist attitudes and body image concerns that influenced her decision to participate in the nude calendar.
She used the platform to counter the negative comments about her athletic physique. She explains, “I didn’t want to be ashamed of my athletic body any more, so what better way to announce that and say ‘here I am’? This is me naked. This is my naked truth.”
Some former teammates refuse to discuss the calendar due to its controversial reception, which McGovern suggests is due to residual shame. However, she’s adamant that the project achieved its goals of gaining spectators and recognition for the team.
Reflecting on the team’s history, she hopes people will come to accept this aspect of their past without shame.
Today’s Matildas, unfamiliar with the 1999 calendar saga, symbolize the progress made in women’s football. McGovern sees the current players’ recognition as proof that such drastic measures are no longer necessary.
She’s moved to tears discussing the significance of the tournament for both past and present Matildas. “We have got an opportunity to transform football into the number one sport here by hosting this Women’s World Cup,” she asserts.
The notorious calendar still holds a place in McGovern’s Sydney home. When asked about her family’s thoughts, she chuckles, “My kids just say ‘oh no, not your bum again mum’.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tracie McGovern
Who is Tracie McGovern?
Tracie McGovern, also known as Trae, is a former Australian footballer who played for the Matildas between 1997 and 2000. She is part of the Australian delegation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
What was the controversy about a nude calendar?
In the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the Matildas, struggling for funding and recognition, decided to publish a nude calendar. This move attracted global media attention but also drew criticism from some quarters, with claims that it was a betrayal of feminist values.
What is Tracie McGovern’s stance on the nude calendar controversy?
Tracie McGovern defends her participation in the calendar, stating that she did it for personal reasons and for the team’s benefit. She has no regrets about the decision and feels that the calendar served its purpose in raising the profile of the team.
What is the relevance of the calendar story to the Women’s World Cup 2023?
The calendar story is part of the Matildas’ history and represents the drastic measures the team once had to take to gain recognition and funding. Tracie McGovern sees the progress made since then, with the current team enjoying full professional status, as a sign of how far women’s football has come. She will be part of the Australian delegation for the Women’s World Cup 2023.
What does Tracie McGovern do now?
After retiring from football, Tracie McGovern transitioned to the mining industry. Despite the change in career, her football past and the calendar controversy often come up in conversations.