One of Britain’s top Paralympians has been left “speechless” after she was told that the kit she’s worn for years was “inappropriate”.
Olivia Breen, who is a double Paralympic world champion sprinter and long-jumper, said she had just finished a competition at the English Championships on Sunday when “one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my briefs were too short”.
The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and is set to compete at the Paralympics in Tokyo next month, shared a statement to Twitter explaining that she has been “wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in.”
She questioned whether a male competitor would be “similarly criticised”, but added that that she still planned on wearing them for the Tokyo games.
Breen, who also won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, told the Guardian she intended to lodge an official complaint to UK Athletics.
She told the paper that one of her former training partners had raised the issue with England Athletics on her behalf but was yet to hear back.
“We were both outraged that in 2021 this approach was adopted by an official during a competition,” she said.
“I have been really shocked by the number of female athletes or their coaches who have told me about similar incidents happening to them.”
In a separate comment following Sunday’s event in Bedford, the 24-year-old stressed: “Women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease.”
Fellow Para Athlete Olivia Gallagher agreed, commenting:
Someone please tell me how this is right. It’s no where near right for officials to comment on clothing.
Females s… https://t.co/k9TIHftMtY