Annika SÃ¶renstam defends accepting award from Donald Trump
An unrepentant Annika SÃ¶renstam has defended her right to receive the presidential medal of freedom from Donald Trump in a ceremony held a day after the riotous mobs invaded the US Capitol.
SÃ¶renstam and Gary Player were afforded recognition with the formerâs appearance especially controversial given her recent appointment as the president of the International Golf Federation. That body, responsible for golf at the Olympics and Paralympics, has a stated aim of securing the âenjoyment of the rights and freedoms among its competitions and members without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.â SÃ¶renstam claims to have had âoverwhelming supportâ from the IGF.Golfâs pitch to distance itself from Donald Trump came five years too late Read more
Speaking from Florida, where SÃ¶renstam will compete on the LPGA Tour this weekend, the 50-year-old offered no apology for her 7 January White House visit. âI have always viewed it [the medal] in the context of the people through history who have received it,â she told Golf Channel. âIt started in 1963 and itâs quite the impressive list of people; whether thatâs through science, art, entertainment or sport. Itâs really about people that make this world a better place.
âIâm not one to second-guess. It [the ceremony] was supposed to be in March 2020. Looking back at it, itâs really about the people who have received it through history. I donât want to spend energy looking back. I want to spend energy looking forward, continuing to open doors and create opportunities for young girls around the world.â
Within days of the Capitol incidents, which resulted in the deaths of five people, the PGA of America removed their 2022 major championship from Trump-owned Bedminster. SÃ¶renstam added: âI share the sadness and the fear with everyone. What happened at the Capitol was a dark day in Americaâs history.âSign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editorsâ picks.
Pressed on whether she would have handled anything differently, SÃ¶renstam said: âAgain, looking back, I donât second-guess. I like to look forward and not spend energy on what could have been. Itâs all about opening doors. Iâve heard from a lot of people. As you can imagine, a lot of opinions, a lot of comments and I hear clearly what those people say. I know they see it differently. I listen and embrace them all. Itâs really important to listen.â