Double world champion Olivia Breen was told by an official at the English Championships that her competition briefs were "too short"
Welsh Paralympian Olivia Breen, who took home a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has spoken out after being told by a female official at the English Championships on Sunday that her sprinting briefs were “too short and inappropriate”.
The champion long-jumper took to Twitter to express her disappointment, stating that the encounter left her “speechless”. She explained that she had been wearing the same style briefs for years and that they were designed specifically for competing. Just as she’d finished her jump at the Championships, she was approached by the official who commented on the style of her briefs, which she’s still hoping to wear in Tokyo later this month.
Breen suggested that, while regulations and guidelines are important when it comes to competition kit, the comment seemed pointed to her because of her gender.
“It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised,” she said. “Women should not be made to feel self conscious about what they are wearing when competing, but should feel comfortable and at ease.”
Several of her followers responded by sharing similar experiences, with one stating she found it “humiliating” after struggling with body image issues. She went on to make the point that these comments can push young women out of sport.
British shotput champion Amelia Strickler pointed out that female athletes are already subjected to a pressure to be ‘perfect’.
“We are there to compete,” she said. “You don’t like the outfits? Don’t officiate.”