What is wrong with Olivia Breen?
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'
Paralympic world champion 'speechless' after being told her sprint briefs 'too short and inappropriate'
21 July, 2021 - 02:01am
Olivia Breen had just finished participating in the long jump competition at the English Championships in Bedford at the weekend when the remark was made by a female official.
Writing on Twitter, the 24-year-old said she was grateful to the volunteers who officiate at these events - but was "disappointed" by what happened.
Breen added that she has been wearing similar sprint briefs for many years without complaint, and they are specifically designed for the events she competes in.
She wrote: "It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues.
"I recognise 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."
An England Athletics spokesperson said: "We are aware of the post and will be investigating 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."
Sky News understands that England Athletics spoke to her about the incident on Monday morning.
Breen, who has cerebral palsy, won world gold in the T35-38 4x100m in 2015 and then the T38 long jump two years later.
She is going to compete at the Paralympics next month, and said she will "hopefully" be wearing the same sprint briefs in Tokyo.
Speaking to The Guardian, Breen said she plans to make an official complaint to UK Athletics - and said she has been "really shocked" by the number of female athletes that have had similar experiences.
Fellow athlete Amelia Stricker tweeted: "Female athletes shouldn't be subjected to such criticism when there is already so much pressure on women to be 'perfect'. We are there to compete. You don't like the outfits? Don't officiate."
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Paralympian Olivia Breen Left Speechless After Being Told Her Running Briefs Were “Too Short And Inappropriate” During Competition
21 July, 2021 - 02:01am
The two-time Paralympic world champion had just finished competing in the long jump event at the English Championships in Bedford when the remark about her choice of clothing was made.
She was wearing a pair of official Adidas briefs for 2021 - a style of running brief that she has been wearing for years. In fact, Breen will "hopefully" be wearing them at next month's Tokyo games.
She also pointed out that women should feel comfortable and at ease about what they are wearing when competing.
"I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events," said Breen, who has cerebral palsy.
"They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight 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. 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 criticised.
"I hope no other female athletes had similar issues. I recognise 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."
Breen later took to social media to post a picture of herself competing at the English Championships in Bedford.
"I don't think it is "objectionable" within the UKA regulations."
"We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency. The well-being of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport."
Breen told The Guardian that she intends to make an official complaint to UK Athletics.
Paralympian says official at England track championships said her shorts were too short, 'inappropriate'
21 July, 2021 - 02:01am
Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel
Olivia Breen says a female official made the comment after she competed in the long jump competition. She wrote about the incident on social media on Sunday.
"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," Breen wrote. "I was left speechless. I have been wearing the same style sprint briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in. ...
"It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticized."
She followed up on social media on Monday, thanking her followers for their support alongside a photograph of herself from Sunday wearing her competition gear.
An English Athletics spokesperson told The Guardian that it was looking into Breen's complaint in a statement.
“We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency," the statement reads. "The wellbeing of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport.”
Breen wrote that she understands guidelines, but that it's not an official's place to make a competitor feel uncomfortable about her appearance.
"Women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing, but should feel comfortable and at ease."
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