On March 31, 2015 Slowtwitch published an interview of Beth Gerdes (who recently finished fifth at Ironman Melbourne) by Herbert Krabel.  You can read the entire interview here.  After asking Gerdes a few questions about her young daughter Wynne, Krabel asked the following question:

ST: Did you two at one point consider not having the baby, or was that a thought that never crossed your mind?

Beth: Seriously? This is a question? Hah. No, we never considered it. I admit I was terrified at first, but Luke was very excited from the get go. We actually found out that I was pregnant two days before Ironman Hawaii 2013. Luke came 2nd that year so I’d say it was some good motivation for him.

Krabel then went on to ask lots of great questions, including about #50WomentoKona, but I can’t get this particular question out of my mind — a triathlon website asked a female athlete whether she considered an abortion?!?!?!?!

First of all (and pardon my language) WHAT THE FUCK?  A woman’s choice with a regard to a pregnancy is a completely inappropriate topic for an interview, any interview, let alone a triathlon-related interview (for contrast listen to The Real Starky’s Interview of Sara Gross, Rachel Joyce and Hillary Biscay).

Moreover, asking the question of a woman, and only a women, is beyond sexist (and we wonder why we’re still fighting for equal slots at Kona).  Slowtwitch has never asked Jordan Rapp, Craig Alexander, Chris McCormack, Luke McKenzie or hell even Lance Armstrong if they and their / girlfriends / fiancees / female partners ever considered “not having the baby.”  Can you image, “So, Jordan you had a really tough year with the accident and I know you were struggling physically and emotionally did you ever consider not having the twins?”

Several people reached out via Twitter to call out Krabel’s question.  Here’s his response:

Krabel's Twitter Feed

Krabel’s Twitter Feed

I’m sorry, this was not a “real question for the selfish world we live in,” it was a misogynistic query into an extremely personal subject that should not have been asked.  I give Gerdes credit for continuing the interview and providing some fantastic insight into gender issues in the sport, I would have ended the interview right then and there.  At the very least Krabel owes Gerdes an apology and owes the reading public a promise never to ask this type of question again.

Updated April 1, 2015 at 1:45 p.m.

Earlier today Krabel removed the question from the Slowtwitch interview.  While Krabel included no comment or footnote concerning the removal of the comment, he posted the following tweet:

IMG_3902

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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

10 Comments

Jamie Bull (@JamesonBull) · April 1, 2015 at 9:29 am

The only explanation that I can come up with is that Herbert is in a secret battle with TRS to be the biggest douche in triathlon. And he just won. No contest.

    Kelly Burns Gallagher · April 1, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Ben could give a masterclass in interviewing. He did a fantastic job with Sara, Hillary and Rachel.

Runner Leana · April 1, 2015 at 9:46 am

Um…wow… I can’t believe he thought that was in any way an appropriate question to ask. Beth handled that situation with such grace.

    Kelly Burns Gallagher · April 1, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Beth was awesome. Sad that Krabel’s horrible question is tainting a really awesome interview by Gerdes.

Emily · April 1, 2015 at 10:41 am

His response is equally as bad because it characterizes that very difficult decision as selfish. What the fuck is right.

    Kelly Burns Gallagher · April 1, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I know. I can see him asking Rinny “So you’ve been married for 2 years now and no kids, did you and Tim ever have an abortion? Is that the secret to your success?” Beyond ridiculous.

Kelly · April 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Honestly, his question surprised me because of course it’s a topic most people never discuss and is incredibly personal and Beth handled it super well, but whether female athletes choose to have kids is a somewhat legitimate question for them. Yes it’s a personal decision for both people in the relationship but only one of them is going to lose a year of training/racing, only one of them will have to physically make a challenging return to form. If you talk to female pros in lots of sports it’s a very hard decision for them about whether they should basically stop their job for a year to have a kid and if they’ll be able to come back after. I also think there probably are some female pros who have had abortions, because they just weren’t ready for that decision, but are scared to talk about it. So, for a second, when I read the question I thought: wow, someone is actually going to dicusss this issue and not make women athletes feel bad or surround it with a lot of stigma.

But, of course, then he said he asked it because it’s a fair question in a selfish time. Ewwwwwwww. And just deleted it without an edit note or anything. Ughhhhh to journalism standards. And, of course, if I was Beth and the question was asked of me, I would have also been like ‘whoa what the fuck.’ But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a legitimate question to bring into the open for open discussion among reasonable people.

    Kelly Burns Gallagher · April 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t disagree that its a legitimate topic (motherhood, child rearing and its impacts on racing as pro), but not the way Krabel handled it. These issues need to be talked about but not as a kamikaze question to an unsuspecting athlete.

      Kelly · April 1, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Yeah, probably true. I just thought it’d be nice if we got to a point where it was just a question without a taboo associated with it. Like, ‘yeah, I considered my options, abortion is one of them.’ Then other people, who are probably keeping quiet out of fear or shame, would see their experiences reflected without a big to-do.

kathy · June 8, 2015 at 10:29 am

wow. you are a PIP! I never saw the interview but i would have not clued in to the fact that he was discussing abortion.

good for you for bringing it to the light of day. did you post in teh forum on ST to bring more light to such a ludicrous question?

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