The German women’s gymnastics team has ditched traditional high-cut bikini leotards for full-body leg and ankle covering unitards at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, making a worldwide statement against the “sexualization” of the sport on stage.

“We sat together today and said, ok, we want to have a big competition,” German gymnast Sarah Voss said in a statement. “We want to feel amazing, we want to show everyone that we look amazing.” The suits featured a blur and white crystal-embellished bodice with maroon ankle-length leggings with cut-out detailing.

 

The full-body style suits had their Olympic debut during the team’s podium training on Thursday and were again worn at their qualifications for the sport at the Olympics on Sunday. The German Gymnastics Federation first branded the uniforms as a statement against “sexualization in gymnastics” which aims to “present themselves aesthetically – without feeling uncomfortable.”

“We decided this is the most comfortable leotard for today,” Olympic team member Elisabeth Seitz said after training on Thursday. “That doesn’t mean we don’t want to wear the normal leotard anymore. It is a decision day by day, based on how we feel and what we want. On competition day, we will decide what to wear.”

The decision came after several team members opted to wear full-body uniforms during the European Gymnastics Championships in Switzerland back in April. Seitz took to Instagram to debut the team’s new uniform at the time.

“The symbol applies to all gymnasts who may feel uncomfortable or even sexualized in normal suits. Because, in our opinion, every gymnast should be able to decide in which type of suit she feels most comfortable – and then also do gymnastics,” she wrote.

Although the body-covering uniform complied with the rules of the International Gymnastics Federation, the controversy was stirred recently last month when the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms while playing in the Euro 2021 tournament. The penalty caught worldwide media attention including singer Pink who even offered to pay the fine.

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