Taking a firm stand against the sexualization of female athletes, German gymnasts donned wetsuits instead of the common bikini leotards. The suits cover the legs up to the ankle and contrast with the high-cut leotards worn by many other female gymnasts at the Olympics. The team, made up of Sarah Voss, Pauline Schaefer-Betz, Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui, competed in red and white unitards.
“It’s about what’s comfortable,” said German gymnast Elisabeth Seitz noted. “We wanted to show that every woman, everyone, should decide what to wear,” she added. The debate over what female athletes should wear is not new.
While wearing long overalls is not against the rules, it is not a common practice. “It’s not just about the uniform. It’s about creating equity, inclusion and space for these young women – who are becoming women – to find and continue to use sport as a place of empowerment “, noted Akilah Carter-Francique, executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San José State University.
Previously, the German team wore full suits at the European Championships in April this year.
Norwegian women’s beach handball team fined
In an incident reflecting how women are affected by governing bodies and official decisions, the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined 1,500 euros for its decision to wear short shorts instead of bikinis at the European Championships in Bulgaria.
Despite being threatened with a fine or disqualification by the European Handball Federation, the team opted to make a statement and wear shorts that were elastic up to the thighs. Last week, British Paralympian Olivia Breen said she had just finished competing at the England Championships when “one of the women officials felt it necessary to inform me that my briefs were too short”.
Female Athletes The official Olympic broadcaster has pledged not to sexualize female athletes by focusing on their bodies following an outcry over female uniforms in sport. Olympic Broadcasting Services said they would follow a more gender neutral approach to filming than has been the case in the past.
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