Who is Michelle Jenneke?
This question would have been a valid one before the IAAF World Junior Championship in Barcelona two weeks ago.
The 19-year-old Australian sprinter has become an international superstar thanks to her pre-race warm-up routine at the 100-metre hurdles final.
The well-built athlete who had also taken part in the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore (2010) went on to win easily at 13.52 seconds, beating competitors from China, Ireland and Canada who came in second, third and fourth respectively.
But it’s what she did before the actual race that’s gotten folks talking, and a few tongues wagging.
Her enthusiastic warm-up dance moves have even garnered her an offer from a website to appear nude allegedly for charity and has also gotten folks to question if combining the notion of sexiness and athletic prowess is a good or cultural phenomenon.
Giacomo Casanova, a fan wrote on Facebook: “She's got the looks, the spunk, and the ability to back it all up. What's not to like?”
However, others have shot back saying that her ‘sexy dance moves’ are giving more weight to the (over) sexual-isation of female athletes.
Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and Fencing Singapore president Nicholas Fang told inSing News he saw nothing wrong with Jenneke’s pre-race warm up routine.
He pointed out that the Australian could very well turn out to be an inspiration for people to enjoy sports.
“Shaking the limbs before a race is common as it helps to loosen up tensed muscles and alleviates stress too. (Jenneke) takes it to another another level” he added.
He also said it’s great to see youthful enthusiasm in sports.
Mr Fang shed some light on showboating in sports and how that it is also a common phenomenon as long as there isn’t any poor sportsmanship. Usain Bolt is an example of an athlete who loves to please the fans.
(Usain Bolt and his world record moments)
Sexy dance warms ups and even showboating are all mostly accepted by sports fans as they add ‘colour’ and excitement to sports. But there have been some cases, especially in football, when showboating or the showing of raw emotions has gone terribly wrong when some players shout expletives or taunt their opponent’s fans.
In case you're looking to see her strut her stuff in the upcoming Olympics, you will be disappointed because she will not be competing in London.
Let's hope she makes headlines again in the games in Rio 2016.