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German Gymnastics Team Will Wear Unitards At Tokyo 2020 Amid Condemnation Of 'Sexualisation' Of Sport

Rebecca Shepherd

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German Gymnastics Team Will Wear Unitards At Tokyo 2020 Amid Condemnation Of 'Sexualisation' Of Sport

The team of gymnasts representing Germany at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are debuting unitards instead of leotards to stop people sexualising the sport.

The athletes - Elisabeth Seitz, Kim Bui, Pauline Schäfer and Sarah Voss - will be wearing full-length uniforms which will cover their legs and most of their body.

They won't be breaking any rules because the sport does allow unitards - it's just that leotards are more conventionally used.

Credit: Instagram/@pauline_schaefer
Credit: Instagram/@pauline_schaefer
Elisabeth Seitz in the new Olympics unitards. Credit: Instagram/@seitzeli
Elisabeth Seitz in the new Olympics unitards. Credit: Instagram/@seitzeli

One of the gymnasts from the team, Sarah Voss, previously wore a unitard at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships, a decision supported by the German Gymnastics Federation.

The organisation said back in April its gymnasts were taking a stand against 'sexualisation in gymnastics', adding that the issue was more important to prevent sexual abuse.

Voss went on to say: "We hope gymnasts uncomfortable in the usual outfits will feel emboldened to follow our example."

Speaking to broadcaster ZDF, Voss added: "We women all want to feel good in our skin. In the sport of gymnastics it gets harder and harder as you grow out of your child's body.

"As a little girl I didn't see the tight gym outfits as such a big deal. But when puberty began, when my period came, I began feeling increasingly uncomfortable."

In an Instagram post from yesterday, Pauline Schäfer wrote: "Our podium training went really well. We were able to call up our performance and already introduce ourselves to the judges.

"Fine-tuning will be done again until Sunday and then it will finally start."

She then asked fans: "How do you like our new outfit?"

This comes after Norwegian handball players were charged with wearing 'improper clothing' as they wore shorts instead of the usual bikini bottoms during the European Beach Handball Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.

The Norway team wore shorts during a recent match against Spain. Credit: Twitter
The Norway team wore shorts during a recent match against Spain. Credit: Twitter

The European Handball Federation stoked controversy by dishing out a fine of 1,500 euros (£1,200/$1,700).

An EHF statement read: "The disciplinary commission at the Beach Handball Euro 2021 has dealt with a case of improper clothing.

"In the bronze medal game against Spain on Sunday the team of Norway played with shorts that are not according to the athlete uniform regulations defined in the IHF Beach Handball rules of the game.

"The disciplinary commission decided to impose a fine of 150 euros per player, for a total of 1,500 euros."

The Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) vowed to stand by its athletes and continue to lobby for a change in the outdated clothing regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Pauline Schafer

Topics: 2020 Summer Olympics

Rebecca Shepherd
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