Search icon


19th Jul 2021

Paralympian Olivia Breen outraged after being told sprint briefs ‘too short and inappropriate’

George McKay

Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she was left speechless

Double Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen has been left ‘speechless and outraged’ after being informed her briefs were both ‘too short and inappropriate’ by an official at Sunday’s English Championships.

Breen told The Guardian she was wearing Adidas’ official 2021 briefs, and brought into question whether a male athlete would ever be called out for their clothing choices.

She said:

I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events. They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight I feel disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate. I was left speechless.

I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in. I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.

Breen, 24, won a gold medal in 2015 and again in 2017 as well as a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics.

She has said she intends to make an official complaint to UK Athletics.

She said she is ‘outraged’ at the official’s approach during a competition.

“I have been really shocked by the number of female athletes or their coaches who have told me about similar incidents happening to them,” she added.

Fellow athlete Amelia Stricker said officials who make comments such as these should not officiate at competitions.

“Female athletes shouldn’t be subjected to such criticism when there is already so much pressure on women to be ‘perfect,'” she said.

“We are there to compete. You don’t like the outfits? Don’t officiate. We don’t need officials adding unnecessary stress in those moments.”