The Olympics have gone a long way since its inception in 1896, but they still have a lot of work to do. It’s not always easy to adapt the games to the changing times. Some Olympic gymnasts have taken matters into their own hands, wearing outfits that they felt more comfortable with as a protest against the sexualization women and girls typically experience in the sport. You’re about to witness a new Olympic gymnastics outfit that one team will be wearing in the Games this summer.
Instead of Leotards, the German Olympic gymnastics team will be wearing Unitards.
It has been a common sight for the Olympic audience to witness women gymnastics in sleeveless leotards, exposing their legs exposed. Kim Bui, Pauline Schäfer, Elisabeth Seitz and Sarah Voss—the German Olympic gymnastics team—will, however, be wearing unitards this year, opting for bare arms and covered legs.
After a practise session, the women posted a picture of their new outfit to Instagram, revealing it to the world on July 22.
While the great majority of female gymnasts choose to wear leotards, bodysuits have been accepted in international events for some years. Marina Nekrasova of Azerbaijan wore a unitard in a 2019 world cup tournament, while Jana Elkeky of Qatar wore a bodysuit that covered her thighs at the 2018 world championships, they write on their website in a June 2021 article.
Earlier this year, German gymnasts began wearing Unitards to protest “sexualization in gymnastics.”
She debuted a full-body costume at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship in April, and a few of her teammates quickly followed suit. It was a first for women and girls like Nekrasova and Elkeky, according to the BBC. According to the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB), athletes are changing their names to avoid “sexualization” in gymnastics.
Former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused as many as 265 young women and girls while disguising his actions as medical care, according to reports. This comprises the whole 2012 Olympic squad and four of the five members of the 2016 Olympic team, including 2020 Olympic sensation Simone Biles, among many other athletes. A de facto life sentence without parole is now being served.
After Nassar’s crimes became public knowledge, former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert was charged with sexual assault and human trafficking. Geddert committed suicide not long after. Sharp was accused of molestation of a 14-year-old gymnast. He committed suicide in jail in 2015. As an Olympic coach for USA Gymnastics in 2008, Sharp was based in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2008, he coached Olympic gymnasts Bridget Sloan and Samantha Peszek, who earned a silver medal in Beijing.
The German gymnasts want to set an example by setting a high standard.
BBC says that in an interview with ZDF, gymnast Voss stated that as she got older, she felt increasingly uncomfortable in the traditional leotard…. “We all want to feel comfortable in our own flesh, especially as we get older. Gymnastics becomes increasingly difficult as you grow older “Voss retorted. “In my youth, I didn’t think that wearing tight workout clothes was a huge issue. Then, when puberty set in, and my period arrived, I began to feel increasingly uneasy about myself.”
Voss told BBC: “We hope gymnasts uncomfortable in the usual outfits will feel emboldened to follow our example.”
Bui posted a photo of the gymnasts wearing their “beautiful unitards” on July 22.
Simone Biles and other Team USA gymnasts have endorsed the new look for the sport.
However, Team USA has backed other athletes’ decision to wear unitards instead of leotards.
‘I feel more comfortable in a leo,’ Biles told Team USA in June. “In my opinion, it would shorten me, but I respect their right to wear whatever they want and to feel comfortable in it. I don’t think it’s a big deal for someone to wear a unitard or leotard.”
In the opinion of her teammate Sunisa Lee the unitard is also “a really nice concept”. “What a great idea! A leotard shouldn’t be mandatory for everyone if you don’t want to wear one, she says “Team USA listened to her. After catching a coronavirus, Kara Eaker, an alternate for Team USA at Tokyo 2020, was forced to return home. I like the fact that it’s distinctive and stands out. “It’s a power move.” This is my first time at a gym, so I don’t know how it would effect my training and gymnastics skill, but I’m willing to try anything.
Revealing uniforms for women athletes spark row recently
For professional women athletes in recent years, uniforms aren’t the only cause of controversy. Oslo’s women’s handball team was been penalized for refusing to wear bikini bottoms, which are mandatory in Europe, after sharing a photo of their revolutionary shorts on Instagram. Olivia Breen, a two-time Paralympic medalist, competes in track events and was warned that her shorts were “too short” and “inappropriate” by an official at the English Championships.