Lisa Wilkinson: Australia's Amazing Female Athletes Are Teaching Our Blokes A Lesson
Let's hear it for women's sport. AUSTRALIAN women's sport!
The wonderful victory this morning by the Matildas against Jamaica in the World Cup caps off an extraordinary fortnight for women's sport in this country, and it is time to celebrate it, even though there is hopefully much more to come.
We've had our own Ash Barty win the French Open, the first Australian woman to achieve that since Margaret Court in 1973. We've got Steph Gilmore leading the World Surf League, potentially on her way to an unprecedented eighth world title. We've got the world's number three golfer, Minjee Lee. The world's best cricketer Ellyse Perry. The world's best paddler Jess Fox. And the world's best footballer, Matildas captain Sam Kerr.
Speaking of The Matildas, did I mention that just this morning, seemingly against all odds, they qualified for the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup in France?
And that Sam Kerr scored an extraordinary FOUR goals?
Perhaps the most refreshing thing about our women is their unostentatious, never-say-die attitude.
When Ash Barty went from 5-0 up in the first set of the Roland Garros semi-finals against the American Amanda Anisimova, to lose nine of the next 10 games and be one set and 0-3 down in the second, she was conspicuous for one thing in particular.
On the edge of defeat, she never threw her racquet down once. There was not a peep out of her towards the umpire, blaming the official for things going awry. She didn't kick her bag across the court or throw a chair, as Nick Kyrgios had done just weeks before. She didn't hold her racquet backwards, presenting the handle to the server as Bernard Tomic did in a match in 2016.
READ MORE: Nick Kyrgios, That Was A Disgrace
READ MORE: Finally An Aussie Tennis Star Who Isn't A Brat She settled. She focused. She fought for each and every point. Bit by bit, she fought her way back into it and lived to fight, and WIN another day, taking out the final against Marketa Vondrousova in dominant fashion.
In victory, there was no embarrassing carry-on, nothing to make you cringe as we have sometimes seen in a few Boys Own Australian triumphs. She just reached out to everyone who had helped get her there, thanked everyone, and went off to have a beer and a steak with her team.
She made the nation proud.
Australia's Ash Barty poses with her French Open trophy. (Image: Getty)
Ditto the Matildas.
A week ago, they lost their first-round match against Italy, 2-1, and it seemed obvious to all that their World Cup campaign was over. After all, when you're going up against the World Champion Brazilian women's team in your next match, no-one will put a dollar on you.
And that was even more obvious when they were down 0-2 in that match, 38 minutes into the first half.
Did the Matildas blink?
Did they hell!
They settled. They focused. Led by the magnificent Sam Kerr, they fought for each and every metre gained. Bit by bit they fought their way back into it -- goal, goal, GOAAAAAAL! -- and won 3-2!
They made the nation proud.
As they move into the next phase of the tournament the nation will tune in en masse. They really might be about to show the boys just how it is done.
And I know, I know, you're impatient for the game next weekend. But don't worry. There is plenty of women's sport to watch meantime.
Try starting with the women's State of Origin game from Sydney's North Sydney Oval on Friday night, being broadcast live on free-to-air for the first time.
Australian women's sport. It is taking over, I tell you.
Or as Barack Obama said it, back in 2012, upon winning the American Presidential election: "This is our time. This is our moment... "
Go Ash Barty at Wimbledon next week. And go you Matildas!
We are watching. And very, very proud.