Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen is speechless after a female official said her Adidas running briefs were ‘too short and inappropriate’ for competition
- Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen, 24, has been criticized for her running shorts
- Official said the Adidas bottoms were ‘too short and inappropriate’ to wear
- Breen noted that she has worn the same style for “many years” to compete
- Asked if a male athlete would be yelled at about their clothing
Two-time Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen has revealed she was “speechless” after being told her sprint briefs were “too short and inappropriate.”
Breen, 24, who has cerebral palsy and will compete in the Paralympics in Tokyo next month, was approached by a female official after the long jump at the English Championships in Bedford on Sunday.
The Welsh athlete, who competes as a sprinter and in the long jump, wore Adidas competition briefs that she’s been wearing for ‘many years’ and wondered if a male athlete would have gotten the same comments.
Two-time Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen has revealed she was “speechless” after being told her sprint briefs were “too short and inappropriate.” In the photo, Olivia wore the same sweater and slip at a different event last month
The Welsh athlete, who competes as a sprinter and in the long jump, wore Adidas competition briefs she’s been wearing for ‘many years’ and wondered if a male athlete would have gotten the same comments
She wrote on Instagram: “I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who perform at athletic events.
“They are doing a great job and enabling us to compete. However, tonight I am disappointed because just as I was finishing my long jump race, one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint slip was too short and inappropriate. I remained speechless.
“I’ve been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed to compete with.
“Hopefully I’ll wear them in Tokyo. I wondered if a male competitor would be criticized the same way.
Breen wore the same outfit in the long jump at the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last month. She said she wore the same style of briefs for ‘many years’
“I hope no other female athlete had similar problems. I recognize that there should be rules and guidelines regarding competition uniforms, but women should not be forced to feel insecure about what they are wearing during competitions, but they should feel comfortable and at ease.”
Rules on the UK Athletics website state: ‘In all events, participants must wear at least a vest and shorts (or equivalent clothing) which are clean and designed and worn in such a way as not to be offensive, even when wet.’
It does not provide further details on measurements, lengths or types of clothing.
Breen, who is sponsored by Adidas, told the Guardian she planned to make an official complaint to UK Athletics. It is clear that England Athletics spoke to Olivia this morning.
Olivia, pictured wearing the briefs at the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last month, said female athletes shouldn’t wonder what they look like during a competition.
British shot putter Amelia Strickler, 27, spoke out in support of Breen, saying: ‘Female athletes should not be subjected to such criticism when there is already so much pressure on women to be ‘perfect’.
“We are here to compete. Don’t like the outfits? Officer not. We don’t need civil servants who cause unnecessary stress at those moments.’
Breen won bronze at the 2012 London Paralympic Games for the 4x100m relay T35-T38.
She failed to earn a medal in Rio four years later, but did win gold in the long jump at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
An England Athletics spokesperson said: “We are aware of the post and will conduct an urgent investigation.
“The well-being of all participants in athletics is paramount and everyone should feel comfortable competing and participating in the sport.”
UK Athletics has been contacted for comment.