It’s almost risible: The Catholic Youth Crusade group (unfortunate name) is excluding Agnieszka Radwanska from its “I’m not afraid of Jesus’ action” initiative because she posed nude for ESPN’s body issue – their annual celebration of sports stars’ bodies: (http://www.thenews.pl/1/5/Artykul/141168,Catholic-group-drops-Radwanska-after-nude-photo-shoot).
Radwanska had been an ambassador for the religious group. Other Catholics have also spoken out against her, though a Polish MEP was in support.
Now, I have nothing against this particular Catholic group (never heard of them, truth be told), but their stance seems to be the typical conservatism of a religious organisation. Here’s a tennis star who has just put Poland on the map by reaching the semis at Wimbledon this year and the finals last year, and who like all top athletes has to be super fit to achieve this – showing off her body but in a DISCRETE way. It’s hardly pornography! If any religious group can’t live with this, strikes me, they can’t live with plenty in the modern world. And that makes them an anachronism.
That said, some might say this is more evidence that Radwanska is a bundle of contradictions. After she lost to Lisicki in the semis, she shook her opponent’s hand in the most perfunctory of ways; it really was painful and embarrassing to watch. When interviewed afterwards about it, she remained pretty ungracious, asking, what else did people expected her to do – dance? And yet, during Wimbledon, I heard one BBC commentator say she’s extremely popular in the locker-room!
The truth is Radwanska is no more a bundle of contradictions than the rest of us. I imagine she is religious, like many Poles: as I recall she wears a crucifix when playing. Maybe she just needs to distance herself from Youth Crusade as much as they do from her, and continue on her own spiritual path. As for her personality, whilst she can by all accounts be a tad spiky, seems to me she was just super-disappointed to lose that semi and not return to the Wimbledon final, none of which precludes her from being generally popular in the locker-room. Though I do think she’d have been better to have reflected quickly and come out with an apology right after her Handshakegate moment.
Oh, and what about the Radwanska nude? I’d love to know what BBC sports anchor man John Inverdale made of it. An otherwise consummate presenter – I’m a big fan – Inverdale shot to even greater fame during Wimbledon by commenting that ladies’ winner Marion Bartoli did so well because she had to work harder than the rest – to make up for her poor looks! Whereas the afore-mentioned MEP is quoted as saying of Radwanska: “[She is] a pretty girl – slim and efficient… are you jealous?” But here I enter especially dangerous territory. You’ll have to make up your own mind on that one…