With the Tokyo Olympic Games well underway after a year of delays due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most highly anticipated and popular sports to watch is gymnastics and one team decided to make a powerful statement during the qualifications on Sunday.
The German women’s gymnastics team opted to wear full-body suit leotards during the qualifications round at the Games.
It was a move, as the team has said, which was to encourage everyone to feel comfortable in what they wear, also promoting freedom of choice.
The German team comprised of Kim Bui, Elisabeth Seitz, Pauline Schaefer-Betz and Sarah Voss who all wore red and white full-body suit leotards.
Explaining their decision to wear the modest leotards, 21-year-old Voss told Reuters, “As you are growing up as a woman, it is quite difficult to get used to your new body in a way.”
She continued, “We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and we show everyone that they can wear whatever they want and look amazing, feel amazing, whether it is in a long leotard or a short one.”
The team’s decision has been met with overwhelming praise, particularly from fellow gymnasts.
“I think it’s really cool that they have the guts to stand on such a huge arena and show girls from all over the world that you can wear whatever you want,” Julie Erichsen, a Norwegian gymnast, said. “I applaud them for that.”
US gymnast Simone Biles also previously applauded the team for their decision to wear unitards – they first showcased them at the European Championships – but said she prefers leotards as they make her appear taller. She stands “with their decision to wear whatever they please and whatever makes them feel comfortable,” according to AP.
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