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German Gymnastics Team Receive Widespread Praise For Wearing Unitards At Tokyo Olympics

Max Sherry

| Last updated 

German Gymnastics Team Receive Widespread Praise For Wearing Unitards At Tokyo Olympics

The Germans are doing things slightly different at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Rather than wearing a bikini-cut leotard donned by female gymnasts for decades, the German athletes have opted for a unitard instead.

Unlike the traditional leotard, the unitard stretches stretches all the way down to the ankles and covers the legs completely.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

And while the German have previously worn unitards back in April at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships, this is actually the first time the attire has featured at an Olympic Games.

"We sat together today and said, OK, we want to have a big competition," Sarah Voss said.

"We want to feel amazing, we want to show everyone that we look amazing."

But there's much more behind this drastic change than just looking and feeling good.

By wearing the unitard, the German competitors hope to protect against "sexualisation in gymnastics" - something that has been a hot topic in recent years following the sexual abuse scandal involving disgraced former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear," Elisabeth Seitz said.

"That doesn't mean we don't want to wear the normal leotard anymore.

"It is a decision day by day, based on how we feel and what we want. On competition day, we will decide what to wear."

Simone Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast of all-time, is onboard with the unitard movement but admits she won't be wearing one for her own personal reasons.

At just 4-foot-8-inches tall, Biles insists leotards make the legs appear longer during competition - an edge that could be the difference between a gold or silver medal for the record-chasing American.

"But I stand with their decision to wear whatever they please and whatever makes them feel comfortable," Biles said.

"So if anyone out there wants to wear a unitard or leotard, it's totally up to you."

Simone Biles. Credit: PA
Simone Biles. Credit: PA

It's understood the unitard doesn't go against any strict wardrobe rules set out by the International Gymnastics Federation.

Other sporting bodies clearly aren't as lenient though - handball being one of them.

The German gymnastics team's decision comes just a matter of days after the Norwegian women's beach handball side were fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms.

Despite initial backlash from fans as well as the players themselves, the European Handball Federation went ahead with their decision and slapped the team with a €1,500 fine for "improper clothing".

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Simone Biles, Gymnastics, olympics, Tokyo Olympics, Germany, Australia

Max Sherry
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