Paralympian Olivia Breen says official called her sprinting shorts 'inappropriate'

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USA TODAY 19 July, 2021 - 04:49pm 5 views

What disability does Olivia Breen have?

Breen, who has cerebral palsy, will represent Britain when the Tokyo Paralympics begin on August 24. In her first Paralympics at the 2012 Games in London, she won bronze in the women's 4x100-meter relay. USA TODAYParalympian Olivia Breen says official called her sprinting shorts 'inappropriate'

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Paralympian Olivia Breen on Tuesday showed a TV broadcast what she was wearing when she said she was told her sportswear was "too short and inappropriate."

Breen appeared on Sky News and showed the Adidas-branded briefs she was wearing at the English Championships when she said a female official suggested what she was wearing was too revealing. 

"Basically, this official came up to me and said, ‘Can I talk to you?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah sure, what’s up?’ because I got on quite well with all the officials. And she was like, ‘Your briefs are too revealing. I think you should buy a new pair of shorts,’" Breen said.

"I didn’t know what to say. I just looked speechless. And I just said to her, ‘Are you joking?’ And she said, ‘No, I think you should consider buying a new pair of shorts.’ And I just looked at my teammate. … I just didn’t know what to say. And she walked off. You shouldn’t tell us what we can’t wear and can wear. I’ve been wearing this for nine years. I’ve never had a problem like this before."

Breen showed the broadcast exactly what she was wearing, which didn’t appear to look like anything out of the ordinary.

"Personally, I think the official should get educated on this because this can’t happen again. …. I think it’s really wrong," Breen added.

Breen, who has cerebral palsy, wrote on Twitter on Sunday she was "disappointed" with the remark.

"I am always grateful to the incredible volunteers who officiate athletic events. They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete," Breen’s statement started.

"However, tonight I feel quite disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition at the English Championships, one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate."

She said in her initial statement she was left "speechless" by the remark and said she had been wearing the same type of shorts for years and they are "specifically designed for competing in."

"I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me questioned whether a male competitor would be similarly criticized. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues. I recognize that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to competition kit but women should not be made self conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should be comfortable at ease."

England Athletics said it was investigating the matter.

Breen said Tuesday she is hoping to find out soon whether she will be representing Britain in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next month.

She represented Britain in the 2012 London Games. She won bronze in the 4x100m relay. Since then, she’s picked up gold medals in the 2015 and 2017 World Championships and the 2016 European Championships. While representing Wales, she won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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Read full article at USA TODAY

Paralympian Olivea Breen's briefs found 'inappropriate'

New York Daily News 21 July, 2021 - 10:01am

Sporting the Adidas official 2021 briefs of a type she has worn for years, Breen competed at the English Championships over the weekend. Afterward, one of the female officials “felt it necessary to inform me that my spring briefs were too short and inappropriate,” Breen tweeted on Sunday, after expressing her overall gratitude to the volunteers who officiate.

“I was left speechless,” she continued. “I have been wearing the same style print briefs for many years, and they are specifically designed for competing in.”

The incident also made her wonder whether a male athlete would have been subject to the same criticism, she said.

“When you are competing, you want to feel as light as possible to make you perform better,” Breen told CNN. “We are entitled to wear what we are given and what we can wear.”

Breen said she has been in touch with England Athletics and plans to make an official complaint. She told CNN they had been “very supportive.”

“I recognize that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to competition kit, but women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease,” she wrote.

Younger athletes could be especially vulnerable to such criticism and that it’s especially important when it comes to Paralympians, she said.

“For me it just made me angry,” Breen told CNN. “If I was 16 or something it would make me burst into tears. They need to treat us with respect and not make us feel like rubbish.”

Paralympian left ‘speechless’ after being told sprint briefs ‘too short’

FOX40 21 July, 2021 - 10:01am

(Reuters) — Welsh Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she was left shocked and dismayed when an official at Sunday’s English Championships in Bedford told her that her sprint briefs were “too short and inappropriate.”

Breen, an Olympic bronze medallist in the T35-38 4x100m relay in 2012, is a double world champion having won gold in the same event in 2015 and a gold in the T38 long jump in 2017.

The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, said the official in question made the remark during the long jump event.

“I feel disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate,” Breen said on Twitter

Here something I felt like sharing that’s happened to me today at my competition @EnglandAthletic pic.twitter.com/QlYfPDmxEV

“I was left speechless. I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in.

“I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticized. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues.”

Breen added that “women should not be made to feel self-conscious” about their kits.

England Athletics told British media they were aware of the post and were investigating the issues “as a matter of urgency”.

“The wellbeing of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport,” a spokesperson said.

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Paralympian Olivia Breen sprint shorts controversy erupts after official calls them 'inappropriate'

The Washington Post 21 July, 2021 - 10:01am

The 24-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, said she has been wearing the same style of shorts for almost a decade and that up until now, it had never been an issue. Breen won a gold medal at the 2017 IPC World Championships in the T38 long jump and set a world record at the same competition in 2015 in the T35-38 100-meter sprint relay.

England Athletics, the governing body for running in the country, said it was investigating the matter as “a matter of urgency" and stressed that the wellbeing of athletes was its main priority.

“Everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport,” the organization said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post.

Breen said Sunday on Twitter that while she was “very grateful” for those who officiate sporting events and recognizes the need for regulations on competition attire, "women should not be made to feel self conscious about what they are wearing when competing.”

Some on Twitter echoed Breen’s point that male athletes who don similar style shorts are not as likely to face the same scrutiny that women may receive.

“We should be celebrating women’s sporting excellence, not limiting them to the size of their knickers,” read one tweet.

“Another sad and totally unnecessary example of female athletes having their bodies policed,” wrote Fiona Tomas, a sporting reporter for The Daily Telegraph.

Breen thanked fans for their support on Monday, and shared an image of the outfit she had been wearing when she was criticized over the weekend.

Breen told Sky News on Tuesday that she was approached by an official shortly after she had finished participating in a long jump competition in Bedfordshire, England.

“Your briefs are too revealing. I think you should consider buying a pair of shorts,” the official said, according to Breen.

Breen told Sky that athletes often opt for clothing that “is as light as possible” especially in the summer months. On Sunday, England recorded its hottest day of the year so far with temperatures climbing to 31.6 degrees Celsius, or 88.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Breen, who has cerebral palsy and is hearing impaired, has embraced her disability “as a positive element of her personality,” according to her official website.

This is just the latest shorts-related controversy ahead of the Olympics. Norway’s handball players were fined $1,700 for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms to compete in a match against Spain at the European Beach Handball Championships on Sunday.

A statement from The European Handball Federation published Monday said it “dealt with a case of improper clothing.”

The Tokyo Olympics begin officially July 23 with the Opening Ceremonies and end August 8. Here’s what you need to know about the Games.

Female world champion Paralympian has been criticised for wearing “too short” shorts – of course

Stylist Magazine 20 July, 2021 - 04:32am

If you were a world champion, you’d probably expect to be able to compete wearing whatever it was that got you to that position in the first place. Perhaps that’d mean lacing up the same shoes you boxed your way to the top in or wearing the same lucky pants that drove you to success. Yet, a double Paralympic world champion sprinter and long jumper has been told that her competition briefs are “too short and inappropriate”.

Olivia Breen was reprimanded by an official for wearing “inappropriate” short-shorts while competing at the English Championships on Sunday in Bedford. That would be the same Sunday that saw highs of 30°C in London and the same briefs that Breen said had been “specifically designed for competing in.”

Ever the professional, Breen tweeted that she’d been left “disappointed” by the comment; if faced with a similarly frustrating situation, I imagine that very few women would have been able to keep the same level of composure. She went on to suggest that while she fully intends to wear the same shorts at the Tokyo Olympics, “it made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.”

And that’s really the crux of the matter. Why do we care what athletes wear while doing their job? They need to move with ease; their clothing choices should revolve around what can get them to run faster, jump higher and move easier, while increasing their confidence and mood. They shouldn’t have to consider what may or may not appear “decent” to officials, volunteers or audiences.

It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised

Women face enough barriers to sport as it is and we know at a grassroots level that many struggle with feeling self-conscious at gyms and training facilities. I’ve struggled to feel comfortable entering such spaces in crop tops and short-shorts – even during heatwaves. 

While that can be hard to stomach, I’ve always assumed that the creme de la creme of the sporting world didn’t have to deal with this kind of bullshit – their incredible talent and success precludes them from judgment. How disappointing to find out that that’s not the case.

To all the female movers out there: keep wearing those short-shorts – especially if you’re a bloody world champion.

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