The German Artistic Gymnastics Team turned heads at the weekend after the athletes competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The group attended the team qualifiers opting for a full-length unitard over the traditional bikini-cut leotard. The gymnasts debuted the refreshing uniform back in April in a bid to fight “sexualization” in the sport.
“We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear,” Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz told reporters. Athlete Sarah Voss added, “We girls had a big influence on this. The coaches were also very much into it. They said they want us to feel the most confident and comfortable in any case. It just makes you feel better and more comfortable.”
In April Voss explained that while she didn’t mind the leotard as a child, once puberty hit she felt increasingly uncomfortable wearing the high-cut uniform.
“We women all want to feel good in our skin,” the 21-year-old told BBC at the time. “In the sport of gymnastics it gets harder and harder as you grow out of your child’s body. As a little girl I didn’t see the tight gym outfits as such a big deal. But when puberty began, when my period came, I began feeling increasingly uncomfortable.”
It comes after the bombshell Netflix documentary Athlete A which detailed the horrifying sexual abuse within the USA Gymnastics Team. The former national team doctor, Larry Nassar, was sent to prison for 176 years after he was found guilty of abusing hundreds of athletes.
In comparison, male gymnasts wear loose shorts over their leotards for disciplines such as the floor, with stirrup pants also known as “longs” for the pommel horse and bar. Germany is the first to take up the new unitard look with other countries expected to follow in the coming months and years.
For Team USA’s Simone Biles, she says that she prefers the leotard in a bid to accentuate the length of her legs.
“But I stand with their decision to wear whatever they please and whatever makes them feel comfortable,” Biles said via Associated Press. “So if anyone out there wants to wear a unitard or leotard, it’s totally up to you.”
Yeah the girls!