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‘Making sure everyone feels comfortable’: German women’s gymnasts wear full-body suits at Olympics to battle ‘sexualization’

‘Making sure everyone feels comfortable’: German women’s gymnasts wear full-body suits at Olympics to battle ‘sexualization’
In the latest case of pushback against the “sexualization” of female athletes, the German women’s artistic gymnastics team defied convention to wear full-body leotards during qualifying at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The German team donned outfits set off with crystals and extending all the way down to their ankles as they competed at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Sunday, going against the usual style of bikini-cut leotards which leave the legs exposed.

The Germans wore the same style outfits at the European Championships back in April, when 21-year-old Sarah Voss started the trend before being followed by two teammates.

READ MORE: German gymnasts wear full-body attire in stand against ‘sexualization’ – and some people want beach volleyball to follow suit

This time the whole German team of Voss, Elisabeth Seitz, Kim Bui and Pauline Schafer took the step, which has been held up as a protest against the ‘sexualization’ of female gymnasts – particularly in the wake of the crimes committed by infamous former US team doctor and sexual abuser Larry Nassar. 

"We sat together today and said, ‘OK, we want to have a big competition,’" Voss had said prior to the event. 

"As you are growing up as a woman, it is quite difficult to get used to your new body in a way.

"We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and we show everyone that they can wear whatever they want and look amazing, feel amazing, whether it is in a long leotard or a short one."

The outfits comply with International Gymnastics Federation rules, and won widespread praise online.

“100% support this movement to stop making women sexual objects...,” wrote one person on Twitter.

“They are athletes and now is the time to stop the ancient practices that no longer have a place in our society... especially on the world stage.”

“Good for them. It’s about time those ‘uniforms’ / suits were about comfort & performance, not butt cheeks hanging out,” added another.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to concentrate on your routine if your unitard is riding up your a** let alone having to fix it with millions of ppl watching?”

Another added: “They look fantastic. The continuous color from the torso down the leg makes their movements look more flowing, lyrical. I applaud their stance but this is beautiful as well!”

“Very, very sexy suits,” came another response, perhaps missing the point of the entire idea.

The Germans did not qualify for Tuesday's final, but their clothing choice continued a trend which was also seen at the European beach handball championships earlier this month.

At that event, the Norwegian women's team refused to wear bikini bottoms for their bronze medal match, instead wearing shorts.

The team was fined by the European handball authorities to the tune of €1,500 ($1,770).

Also on rt.com ‘No good reason’: Norway beach handball stars vent frustrations after being slapped with fines for not wearing bikini bottoms