Olympian Chloe Hosking was told her 13-year career was over. Then she was told to smile.

Chloe Hosking is one of Australia’s most successful road cyclists of all time.

But over a Zoom call in December, Hosking was told her new team - B&B Hotels - were folding due to a major sponsor backing out, meaning she would be without a contract for 2023.

On that very same call, she was reportedly told to smile.

"I don’t have a job, my 13-year career is over," she responded. "Why should I smile?"

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Video via Mamamia.

I can’t help but wonder, if it had been Nick Kyrgios on that call, would he have been told to smile? Given his on court demeanour, I can only imagine his response wouldn’t have been as measured as Hosking's response.

Telling a woman to smile, even if your intent is purely innocent, is oppressive. 

It’s ironic that I’m writing this, because for most of my life, I've been a 'people pleaser'. I’ve smiled through hurt, pain, and anger to ensure no one feels any discomfort. 

It’s taken me 30 years to realise I don’t need to smile at the cost of my wellbeing. But I was raised to be grateful, and whilst practicing gratitude is something I believe we should all do, it shouldn’t be at the expense of knowing your worth.


Women have been fighting for equality in sport for decades and this instance shows we still have a long way to go. 

Chloe Hosking was told to feel gratitude in a moment where her 13-year career was all but over, despite her feeling like she still has much more to give.

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Female athletes train just as hard, they sacrifice just as much (if not more), and they feel the euphoria of victories and devastation of losses just the same as male athletes. So, why should they be treated like they should just be grateful for a seat at the table?

Female athletes, and women in general, are so often expected to feel this way. They are expected to moderate emotions, to be passive, to please others. This emotional labour takes its toll, and I hope for Hosking's sake that she takes care of herself in the coming days and months as she faces a career in limbo. I hope she has what it takes to keep fighting for her career.

Women have to keep fighting. We have to keep asking for better pay, for equality, and not just 'being grateful' for the opportunity. Just because we live in a world where women in sport have more opportunity than they ever have before, doesn’t mean they have enough.

Feature Image: Instagram

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