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25th Jul 2021

Gymnastics team wear full body suits in protest at ‘sexualisation’ of their sport

Kieran Galpin

Gymnastic team protests uniform

Sometimes, upon looking at various sporting uniforms, a clear distinction is made between what women and men typically wear. But the German Gymnastics team has taken a stand at the Tokyo Olympics, opting for a full bodysuit which they hope will encourage people to wear what makes them feel comfortable.

Sarah Voss, Pauline Schaefer-Betz, Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui competed in red and white unitards, which are combined leotards and leggings extended to the ankles.

“As you are growing up as a woman, it is quite difficult to get used to your new body in a way,” Sarah Voss said.

“We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and we show everyone that they can wear whatever they want and look amazing, feel amazing, whether it is in a long leotard or a short one.

“We want to be a role model in any case, to make everybody have the courage to follow us.”

Reuters has reported that other teams at Tokyo have sung the praises of the German decision.

“I think it’s really cool that they have the guts to stand on such a huge arena and show girls from all over the world that you can wear whatever you want,” said Norwegian gymnast Julie Erichsen. “I applaud them for that.”

In similar news, the Norwegian handball team was recently fined for refusing to wear bikini bottoms.

The men on their squad are able to wear shorts just above the knee, but the women are required to wear bikini bottoms.

“Of course, we would pay any fine. We are all in the same boat,” said Norwegian Handball Federation president Kare Geir Lio.

“The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with.”

Paralympian Olivia Breen has also faced discrimination for her Olympics attire:

“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.”