Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she 'was left speechless' after a female official at the English Championships termed her sprinting briefs "too short and inappropriate." Breen took to social media questioning if a male competitor would be criticized.
Breen, who has cerebral palsy, is slated to represent United Kingdom in the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics in August. The two- time world champion, Breen won a gold medal during the IPC World Championship in 2015 and 2017.
Breen Claims Her Shorts Specifically Designed for Competitions
The volunteer official, whose name has not been disclosed, commented on the athlete's attire prior to her long jump competition on Sunday. The next day Breen took the matter to social media. In a tweet the Paralympian wrote;
"I am alwaya grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events," said Breen, who has cerebral palsy. "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."
Social Media Comes in Support of Breen
Stating that women should not be made to feel self-conscious, Breen added, "Women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease."
Breen's tweet caused a huge uproar on social media with netizens demanding an end to such practices. "So paralympian sprinter Olivia Breen has been told her shorts are too short and inappropriate; meanwhile, the Norwegian women's volleyball team has been fined for choosing to wear shorts instead of revealing bikini bottoms. The impossibility of femininity," tweeted a user.
"Women athletes can't win can they - Norwegian volleyball players MADE to wear tiny briefs, this woman criticized for making her own choice," wrote another.
"Another sad and totally unnecessary example of female athletes having their bodies policed. This one seems even more unjust - just days before the start of the Tokyo Games. Well done @BreenOlivia for calling this out, hope you never experience this again," read another tweet.