Taking a strong stand against sexualization of female athletes, Germany's female gymnasts donned unitards instead of the common bikini-cut leotards. The suits cover the legs to the ankle and are in contrast to the high-cut leotards worn by many other female gymnasts at the Olympics. The team, composed of Sarah Voss, Pauline Schaefer-Betz, Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui, competed in red and white unitards.
"It's about what feels comfortable," German gymnast Elisabeth Seitz said. "We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear," she added. The debate over what women athletes should wear is not new.
While wearing full-length bodysuits is not against the rules, it is not common practice. "It's not just about the uniform. It's about creating equity, inclusion and space for these young women—who are growing into womanhood—to find and continue to use sport as a place of empowerment," said Akilah Carter-Francique, the executive director for the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San José State University.
Earlier, the German team wore the full-body suits at the European Championships in April this year.
Norway Women's Beach Handball Team Fined
In an incident reflective of how women are affected by the governing bodies and official decisions, Norway's women's beach handball team were slapped with a fine of 1,500 Euros over their decision to wear brief shorts instead of bikinis during 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 thigh-length elastic shorts. Last week, British Paralympian Olivia Breen said she had just finished the competition at the English Championships when "one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my briefs were too short".
Females athletes The official Olympic broadcaster has vowed not to sexualise female athletes by focusing on their bodies following an outcry over women's uniforms in sport. The Olympic Broadcasting Services said it will follow a more gender-neutral approach to filming than may have been the case in the past.