The Death of Anna Kournikova Era: The State of Women’s Sport

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Grantland addresses the change in media coverage and marketing of women’s sports today given the success of so many female athletes this summer at the Olympics and beyond.

“Kournikova has long since exited the public eye, but those years during which all female athletes had to somehow answer to Anna’s hotness had a lasting effect on how the country discussed female athletes. It created the following paradox: If all talk about women’s sports — however obliquely or subliminally — is about Anna Kournikova and all talk about Anna Kournikova is not ever about women’s sports, how do you talk about women’s sports?

Somehow, in this summer of Missy Franklin, Serena Williams, and Gabby Douglas, we seem to have stumbled out of this Babel. Anna Kournikova’s long braid of associations has loosened its death grip. Before we ride off into a future of equal sponsorship deals and nationally broadcast WNBA All-Star games, it should be asked: Was this summer a series of great coincidences, or have we really changed the way we celebrate female athletes?”


Graham Todd is an intern at The Rumpus. He spends his mornings writing post-apocalyptic, vaguely biblical sci-fi horror comedy, his evenings tutoring the wide-eyed youth of the Palo Alto area, and his Thursdays at The Rumpus office, effectively “off the streets”. Beyond this weekly ritual, he enjoys karaoke, the movies, and jogging. More from this author →