Earlier this week, Paralympian Olivia Breen was subject to controversy after she shared a story of how an English Championships official declared her briefs were ‘short and inappropriate’…
The 24-year-old with cerebral palsy explained on social media that she has been wearing the same briefs for years and plans on wearing them to the Paralympics in Tokyo.
Sharing a screenshot on her phone, Breen wrote, ‘I have been wearing the same style sprint 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.’
— oliviabreen (@BreenOlivia) July 18, 2021
Breen then told Good Morning Britain today, ‘I just finished the competition. I was really happy, just having a chat with my teammate and the official came up to me and said: ‘Can I talk to you Olivia?’ And I said: ‘Sure, what’s up?’
Thereafter, the official expressed her concerns about the athlete’s briefs, advising that she start wearing shorts instead. Breen went on, ‘My first reaction was ‘are you joking?’ And she was like, ‘no, I think you should buy a pair of shorts’. I’ve been an athlete for nine years and I’ve never been told ‘that’s too revealing’ or ‘that’s inappropriate’. It’s ridiculous.’
Breen explained that some of her fellow male competitors even had shirts off while competing during the heatwave, yet it wasn’t an issue. Breen is now filing an official complaint with England Athletics.
In a statement to The Guardian, the official sporting body 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.’
People online are now arguing that there shouldn’t be much focus on what sportswomen choose to wear.