What is Olivia Breen disability?
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'
In a Twitter post, the 24-year-old said that an England Athletic official called her sprint briefs "too short and inappropriate."
The British athlete, who has cerebral palsy, will be competing at the Tokyo Paralympics next month and was hoping to wear the same briefs during the summer games.
“I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in,” she wrote.
Breen, who told the Guardian that she was wearing official Adidas briefs during the competition, also said she wonders whether male athletes would have been similarly criticized.
"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.
The athlete told CNN that she was particularly hurt to hear another woman criticize her uniform.
"You have no right to say what I can and can't wear," she said.
Breen also explained why the design of her briefs are particularly helpful during competitions.
"When you are competing, you want to feel as light as possible to make you perform better," she said.
Since she went public with her story, Breen has received an outpouring of support from her fans and shared a post on Instagram Monday to express her gratitude
"Thank you everyone for all your lovely supportive messages and I’m sorry to hear that it has happened to so many other people. Some people have asked what I was competing in yesterday so here is a picture. I don’t think it is 'objectionable' within the UKA regulations," she shared.
In her interview with CNN, Breen revealed that she has been in touch with a representative from England Athletics and said they have been "very supportive." TMRW reached out to the organization for comment and did not hear back.
Chrissy Callahan covers a range of topics for TODAY.com, including fashion, beauty, pop culture and food. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching bad reality TV and consuming copious amounts of cookie dough.
Read full article at Daily Mail
21 July, 2021 - 04:01pm
But these comments didn't just come from the mouth of some idiotic fan, it turns out it was actually a volunteer helping out at the English Championships in Bedford who told her this.
The Welsh long jumper, who is set to represent Team GB at the upcoming Paralympic Games in August, says she was caught completely off guard by the comments.
"I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events," she said via Twitter.
"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 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, who has cerebral palsy, told The Guardian that she plans on launching an official complaint to UK Athletics along with a former training partner of hers.
"We were both outraged that in 2021 this approach was adopted by an official during a competition," she added.
"I have been really shocked by the number of female athletes or their coaches who have told me about similar incidents happening to them."
At just 24 years of age, Breen is already a two-time world champion and a bronze gold medal winner at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
21 July, 2021 - 04:01pm
Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen has said she was left "disgusted" after an England Athletics official told her that her sprint uniform was "inappropriate" and "too revealing" at the England Championships on Sunday.
Double world-champion Breen, who has cerebral palsy, is set to compete in the T38 long jump at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next month.
Breen was wearing the same style of competition briefs that she has worn for the duration of her nine-year career.
"I just finished my last long jump competition before [Paralympic] selection," Breen told ESPN. "This official came up to me and said to me: 'Can I speak to you?' And she just said, 'I think your briefs are too revealing. I think you should consider buying some shorts.'
"I was just ... I am very expressive, and I didn't know what to say. So my response was: 'Are you joking?'
"And she was just like: 'No, I think you should consider buying a pair of shorts."
Breen said she was annoyed from the start and that the more she's thought about the situation, the more she has thought she was treated poorly.
"I felt disgusted. I was just taken by surprise and gobsmacked," she said. "This is so wrong. We're not living in the 18th century. Life has moved on. As an athlete, personally, I have never experienced that before."
Breen, a bronze medallist at London 2012 in the women's 4x100m relay T35-T38, has said she has received a host of messages from young female athletes who say they have experienced similar comments.
"The messages all said, 'I really appreciate you speaking out, and it's happened to me. It's great that you're using your voice, and we really appreciate it,'" Breen said.
"I had no idea this has happened to so many athletes and so many young girls. Some people said it has left them crying. Some people even got disqualified as well. This needs to change!"
An England Athletics spokesperson told ESPN: "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 has called for all officials to be more mindful of their comments toward athletes.
"What I would like to happen is that [officials] never make any [personal] comments to any females or males. Just accept what we're wearing. If we're not sticking to the rules, that's fine. But if we're wearing the ruled outfit, don't say anything to us about it.
"I think England Athletics and officials need to be educated on what they can and can't say to us.
"I didn't realise how much of a response I would get and how much coverage I would get. I'm really glad I spoke out about it because it's disgusting and it needs to change. They [officials] can't do that to us."
21 July, 2021 - 04:01pm
Age: They have been around for years, but the latest styles are new for summer 2021.
Appearance: Athleticwear, characterised by an aversion to wasting Lycra.
You mean they are small? They are made for competition, but yeah – you don’t get a lot for your money.
Still, if it gives you that competitive edge. The Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen swears by them, and she took gold in the T38 long jump at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
As I’ve always said, you can’t win the long jump in a hoop skirt. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees: an official at the English Championships in Bedford complained that Breen’s briefs were “too short and inappropriate”.
When did this happen? In the 1890s? No, at the weekend.
What did Breen think about that? “I have been wearing the same style sprint briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in,” she said. “I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.”
It’s ridiculous. Those beach volleyball women play in bikinis. That’s a completely different story.
Is it? This year, the German beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude threatened to boycott a tournament in Qatar after their bikini team uniforms were forbidden on court.
It’s actually a very similar story. The Qatar Volleyball Association climbed down in the end.
Why doesn’t everybody just let the athletes wear what they want? Some restrictions are necessary to ensure fairness, but the International Volleyball Federation issues fairly broad uniform guidelines, allowing for one-piece suits, half-sleeve tops, knee-length trousers and some cold-weather options.
How very forward-thinking of volleyball. Unlike beach handball.
Sorry, unlike what? Beach handball – it’s like regular team handball, but you play on sand and, if you’re a woman, in a bikini.
That’s a rule? When the Norwegian team refused to wear bikini bottoms for a tournament match against Spain, showing up in shorts instead, they were fined €1,500.
When did this happen? In 1974? No, at the weekend.
When did officials start getting so prescriptive about women’s uniforms? It was ever thus. Just before the 2012 Olympics, the Amateur International Boxing Association tried to put female boxers in skirts so spectators could tell them apart from the men.
Do say: “The only thing you should worry about wearing is a medal.”
Don’t say: “Hold the feather boa up when you jump, so it doesn’t get caught in the hurdles.”
21 July, 2021 - 04:01pm
Team GB’s para-athlete, Olivia Breen, who is the double world champion has spoken of her dismay at being told her official shorts were too short and she should wear something “more appropriate”.
Speaking to the BBC, Breen said the comments, made at Bedford Athletic Track during the English Championships on Sunday (18 Jul), “made me feel really angry”.
She believes male competitors would not have comments made about their clothing and wants to highlight apparent sexist attitudes in athletics to stop it from happening again.
“You know they can’t comment on what we can and can’t wear,” she said.
The 24-year-old won a world championship gold medal in the T35-38 4x100m class in 2015 and a gold in the T38 long jump in 2017.
Speaking to The Guardian, Breen, who has cerebral palsy, said: “I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events.
“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,” she added.
“I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.”
Speaking to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4, Breen said the official “She said ‘I think what you’re wearing is very revealing and I think you should consider buying shorts’. I didn’t know what to say I was left speechless and my first thought process was ‘are you joking?’.”
An England Athletics spokesperson has told the media, “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.”
T 020 3325 4288
21 July, 2021 - 12:30pm
By Evan Orris
July 21, 2021 | 1:30pm | Updated July 21, 2021 | 1:30pm
On Sunday at the English Championships, two-time Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen was wearing her usual track-and-field attire when a volunteer official called the outfit “too short and inappropriate.” Now, she has told the extended side of her story.
Breen had just finished her last long jump competition when the official pulled her aside. She told Breen that her outfit was ‘”too revealing” and that she should “consider buying some shorts.” She was shocked beyond belief.
“I felt disgusted. I was just taken by surprise and gobsmacked,” she said. “This is so wrong. We’re not living in the 18th century. Life has moved on. As an athlete, personally, I have never experienced that before.”
The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, was wearing the same style of briefs that she has worn for her entire nine-year career. She wants to see a change in the strict attire rules that are enforced. She also wishes that England officials are “educated on what (they) can and can’t say” to their athletes.
“What I would like to happen is that [officials] never make any [personal] comments to any females or males,” Breen said. “Just accept what we’re wearing. If we’re not sticking to the rules, that’s fine. But if we’re wearing the ruled outfit, don’t say anything to us about it.”
After the incident, Breen released a statement on her Twitter. She expressed disappointment in the official. The post caught the eye of England Athletics.
“We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency,” the spokesperson said. “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 is set to compete in the T38 long jump at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next month. In the 2012 London Paralympics, Breen was able to secure a bronze medal in the women’s 4x100m relay T35-T38. This year, she has her eyes set on gold.
21 July, 2021 - 10:47am
Before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony has even been held - the tournament having been delayed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic - controversy has already erupted over the kits athletes wear to take part in elite sporting competitions.
The commotion began when two-time British Paralympian world champion Olivia Breen took to Twitter to report her dismay that a female official had told her the briefs she was wearing as she took part in the English Championships in Bedford on Sunday were “too short and inappropriate”.
Breen, a sprinter and long jump specialist who suffers from cerebral palsy and will compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games next month, said she was “disappointed” and left “speechless” by the incident, explaining that she had worn the same attire for nine years without an issue and questioning whether a male athlete would have been subjected to the same criticism.
She has subsequently said that she plans to file an official complaint and that England Athletics has already reached out to her.
“We want to be as light as possible when we’re competing, not having to feel heavy, and to feel comfortable. We should just wear what we’re entitled to wear,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this week.
The furore was swiftly followed by a separate episode in which the Norwegian women’s handball team were fined £1,295 - or £130 per player - by the European Handball Federation (EHF) for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria, which the governing body considers to be “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 EHF said in a statement.
The Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) has agreed to pay the fine and says it is “very proud” of its team and stands by them.
“They raised their voice and told us that enough is enough,” the NHF said in a statement. “We will continue to fight to change the international regulations for attire, so that players can play in the clothing they are comfortable with.”
While both of those controversies occurred a long way from Tokyo, they could have consequences for the Games.
Most of the publicly available information on clothing rules specific to the Olympics concerns its strict guidelines regarding the amount of space apportioned to sponsors’ messaging on competitors jerseys, shorts and socks, even micromanaging the placing of a manufacturer’s logo on zips.
But there are myriad rules for those taking part to follow - largely derived from the individual sports’ governing bodies - which vary enormously depending on the nature of the activities in question, with some regulations insisted upon as safety precautions and others having more to do with tradition.
BMX riders making their debut at this year’s games must have their shirts tucked in at all times, for instance, to avoid loose fabric becoming ensnared in the gears of their bikes, while male figure skaters must wear trousers and women skirts and both avoid “excess nudity” in choosing costumes in keeping with the decorum of their discipline.
Among the more eccentric rules expected to be obeyed at the Olympics include the odd requirement that boxers be clean shaven or have limited facial hair, that gymnasts shun bright nail polish and V-neck leotards and that cyclists do not wear long socks.
Leaning in the other direction towards excessive leniency, track and field competitors are not actually bound to wear shoes if they prefer not to.
On the specific question of bikini bottoms in handball, the EHF’s guidelines state that: “Women should wear a bikini where the top should be a tight-fitting sports bra with deep openings at the arms. The bottom must not be more than ten centimetres on the sides.”
The Norwegian women’s handball team in their offending shorts
While this week’s incident has inevitably (and rightly) raised questions about sexism in sport, the EHF’s rules are actually equally strict for male players, who are told that they must wear “tight-fitting tank tops” and shorts that are “not too baggy” and “10 centimetres above the kneecap.”
A clue as to why this might be the case is given by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball in its own guidelines on uniforms, which state that: “Beach volleyball athletes compete in a beach and open air environment and are required to project a healthy image to audience, media, partners, etc.
“Sun, sand and sea (whenever applicable) are critical elements to take into consideration when it comes to athletes’ uniforms.”
So in addition to honing and demonstrating expert technique and trying to win, participants in some sports are also expected to “project a healthy image” for the benefit of spectators and corporate patrons, presumably to add glamour to the latter’s advertising.
In a statement commenting on this week’s handball furore, the sport’s organisers tellingly referred to it as an “attractive” game whose ambitions should be encouraged.
If that all sounds a little out of the ark, it’s hard to disagree with Kare Geir Lio, head of NHF, who agreed with Olivia Breen when she told the AFP this week that attire for the players “should be a free choice within a standardised framework. The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with.”
Norway’s coach, Eskil Berg Andreassen, meanwhile argued that such clothing requirements could discourage future participants from taking up the sport, pointedly alluding to women from Muslim-majority nations.
Tokyo 2020 has enough problems without being drawn into rows over athletes’ shorts as it is.
With a state of emergency declared for the Japanese capital amid rising Covid-19 cases and participants already beginning to test positive for the respiratory disease inside the Olympic Village, questions remain over whether the event should still be going ahead.
Toshiro Muto, the head of the organising committee, admitted as recently as Tuesday that the sporting spectacular could still be cancelled at the last minute in response to the pandemic if the situation worsens.
“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,” he said.
“We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”
Japanese auto giant Toyota announced it was pulling all advertising associated with the competition on Monday, as the company’s chief communications officer Jun Nagata commented: “There are many issues with these Games that are proving difficult to be understood.”
Meanwhile, just 22 per cent of the Japanese public approve of the decision to press ahead, according to an Ispos Mori poll, with anger over the event’s spiralling cost and potential threat to the public health with only 29.3 per cent of people vaccinated prompting 200 protestors to gather outside of Shinjuku station in central Tokyo on Sunday to brandish signs reading: “No Olympics.”
“This is ignoring human rights and our right to life,” protester Karoi Todo told the AP.
“Infections are increasing. To do the Olympics is unforgivable.”
The Norwegian women’s handball team in their offending shorts
20 July, 2021 - 10:00pm
What's trending in the sports world today.
A Paralympic athlete said she is “disgusted” after being told her sprint outfit was “too revealing.”
Olivia Breen, who represents Great Britain in the Paralympics, said she was “disgusted” after recent comments made to her during a competition. According to a report from ESPN, an England Athletics official told her that her sprint uniform was “inappropriate” and “too revealing” at the England Championships this weekend.
Breen, who has cerebral palsy, took to Instagram with a message. In the post, she published a photo showing what she was wearing. The outfit is hardly “too revealing” and looks like every other sprint outfit worn all across track and field.
“Thank you everyone for all your lovely supportive messages and I’m sorry to hear that it has happened to so many other people,” she said in the post. “Some people have asked what I was competing in yesterday so here is a picture. I don’t think it is ‘objectionable’ within the UKA regulations.”
She detailed the incident in a comment to ESPN.
“I just finished my last long jump competition before [Paralympic] selection,” Breen told ESPN. “This official came up to me and said to me: ‘Can I speak to you?’ And she just said, ‘I think your briefs are too revealing. I think you should consider buying some shorts.’
“I was just … I am very expressive, and I didn’t know what to say. So my response was: ‘Are you joking?’
“And she was just like: ‘No, I think you should consider buying a pair of shorts.”
Breen is a double-world champion and will compete in the T38 long jump at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next month.
Andrew McCarty is a writer for The Spun.
20 July, 2021 - 08:54pm
Olivia Breen, a British double Paralympic world champion is speaking out after an official said her competition bottoms were "too short and inappropriate" during the English Championships over the weekend.
Why it matters: The issue of womenswear in sport has come to the fore ahead of the Olympic Games. The European Handball Federation fined Norway's women's beach handball team for wearing shorts, like men are allowed to, instead of the required bikini bottoms during a match.
Norway's team lines up during 2018 Women's Beach Handball World Cup final against Greece on July 29, 2018. Photo: Ilnar Tukhbatov/Epsilon/Getty Images
Norway's women's beach handball team was fined by the European Handball Federation on Monday after wearing shorts instead of the required bikini bottoms during a match, the New York Times reports.
The big picture: The International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms that are no longer than four inches on the sides, per the Times. Men can wear shorts as long as four inches above their knees as long as they are "not too baggy."
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