German gymnasts break convention at the Tokyo Olympics by debuting unitards while condemning the sexualization of their sport.
Throughout the tournament, the team will wear long uniforms that cover their legs and most of their bodies, rather than the sport’s usual tights.
By doing so, the athletes are not in violation of the rules that allow a ‘long leg one piece leotard – from hip to ankle’.
Elisabeth Seitz, Kim Bui, Pauline Schaefer and Sarah Voss gave a sneak peek of their outfits they wore in practice on Thursday, in a photo shared on Instagram.
The posting of the image comes just days after the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined after the players refused to wear bikini bottoms during a match, instead competing in unregulated shorts.
German gymnasts (LR) Elisabeth Seitz, Pauline Schaefer, Kim Bui and Sarah Voss made their debut in the team’s unitards on Thursday in a photo posted to Ms. Schaefer’s Instagram (photo)
“Our podium training went very well. We were able to call up our performance and introduce ourselves to the jury. The fine-tuning will be done until Sunday and then it will finally start. What do you think of our new outfit?’ Schaefer wrote on Instagram.
“Beautiful arena, good stage training, nice unitards and a lot of fun,” Bui also wrote.
The German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) confirmed in April that its athletes took a stance against “sexualization in gymnastics,” adding that the issue was important in efforts to prevent sexual abuse, the BBC reported at the time.
The DTB’s statement came after German athletes – including Voss and Bui – wore unitards at the European Gymnastics Championships.
“We hope that gymnasts who are uncomfortable in the usual outfits will feel encouraged to follow our lead,” Ms Voss said at the time.
She continued to the public broadcaster ZDF: ‘We women all want to feel good about ourselves. In gymnastics, it becomes more and more difficult as you grow out of your child’s body.
‘As a little girl I didn’t think the tight gym outfits were such a big deal. But when puberty started, when my period came, I started to feel more and more uncomfortable.’
Pictured: Pauline Schaefer from Germany will compete in the more conventional leotard worn in sport in August 2018. By not wearing leotards, the German team is not in violation of the rules that allow a ‘one-piece leotard with long legs – from hip to ankle’.
An earlier post from Ms Bui said the German team wanted to ‘encourage all gymnasts around the world to be able to wear this if they want to feel better!
It should be a gymnast’s choice to wear what she (or he) feels comfortable with! Leotards with long legs can also look aesthetically pleasing!’
In 2016, the world of gymnastics — especially in the United States — was rocked by allegations of sexual abuse against senior figures, including longtime USA Gymnastics (USAG) national team doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar was found guilty and later sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women made impact statements against him in court.
The case raised questions about the sport, namely how someone like Nasser had unsupervised access to young girls for so long.
American gymnast Simone Biles, who emerged as one of the women who was sexually assaulted by Nasser, said earlier this year that she competed in the Tokyo Olympics to speak out and give a voice to the survivors of such attacks. abuse.
On Monday, the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined after the players refused to wear bikini bottoms during a match.
The Disciplinary Commission of the European Handball Federation (EHF) has fined the team 1,500 euros (£1,300) or 150 euros (£130) per player.
The fine comes after they wore shorts – instead of the bikini bottoms required by International Handball Federation (IHF) rules – during their bronze medal loss to Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship in Bulgaria on Sunday.
Norwegian officials reacted angrily to the news the next day.
“It’s completely ridiculous,” Norway’s Culture and Sports Minister Abid Raja tweeted after Monday’s verdict. ‘What a change of mentality is needed in the macho and conservative international sports world.’
Eirik Sordahl, the chairman of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, told the national news agency NTB: “In 2021 it should not be a problem.”
On Monday, the Norwegian beach handball team was fined after the players refused to wear bikini bottoms during a match, instead wearing shorts (pictured)
Ahead of the sanction, the Norwegian handball federation said on Monday it was willing to pay the fine after the women’s team knowingly violated official rules.
“Of course we would pay any fine,” Norwegian Handball Federation president Kare Geir Lio told AFP on Monday. “We’re all in this together,” he added.
Norwegian handball player Katinka Haltvik, quoted by public broadcaster NRK, also said before the fine that the team would be happy to pay it.
The team was expected to be fined just 50 euros (£43) per player, meaning the fine is 1,000 euros more than initially expected.
Clothing has long been an issue in beach sports, with some female players finding bikinis degrading or impractical.
While bikinis have not been mandatory for beach volleyball players since 2012, the IHF rules state that “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” and that they must “sit tight”, “cut at an upward angle to the top of the leg” and a side depth of up to 10 centimeters.
Male players wear shorts.
By dumping the regulated bikini bottoms, the Norwegian women’s team (pictured in 2017 wearing bikini bottoms) was fined 150 euros per player – a total of 1,500 euros
Before the European Championship, Norway approached the European Handball Federation to ask for permission to play in shorts, but were told that violations of the rules could be punished with fines.
They complied, until their last match.
“The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes feel comfortable with,” said Lio, adding that “it should be a free choice within a standardized framework.”
A Norwegian motion to change the current rules will be discussed by the authorities in the coming months.
Contrary to the situation earlier this year, German beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude said they would boycott a tournament in Qatar because it is “the only country” where players are not allowed to wear bikinis on the pitch.