<p>Sarah Voss at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in April</p>

Sarah Voss at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in April

German gymnastics team take stand ‘against sexualisation’ in full-length unitards

‘Every gymnast should be able to decide which type of suit she feels most comfortable in,’ the athletes say

Saman Javed
Friday 23 July 2021 12:05

Germany’s women’s gymnastics team have debuted full-length unitards ahead of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony in a stand against “sexualisation in gymnastics”.

Forgoing the traditional bikini-cut unitards which have been worn by female gymnasts since the 1970s, Germany’s team will compete in a sleeveless, long-legged, purple and black unitard.

The athletes gave the public the first look at this year’s uniform on Thursday during a podium training session. In a post to her Instagram following the training, team member Elisabeth Seitz could be seen posing next to Kim Bui, Pauline Schaefer and Sarah Voss.

The full-length unitards feature lace detailing around the neckline, lace cutouts on the sides of the leg, and a silver eagle representing the German coat of arms on one side.

Schaefer also shared the same image on her Instagram, writing in the caption, “How do you like our new outfit?”

The unitard is in line with rules set by the Internal Gymnastics Federation, which state that competitors are allowed to wear a “one-piece leotard with full-length legs - hip to ankle”.

The decision to wear full-length bodysuits at the international games comes after the team wore a similar outfit at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in April.

At the time, the German Gymnastics Federation said it was a statement “against sexualisation in gymnastics”, while Seitz wrote on her Instagram that she hopes the unitard will “set an example...to all gymnasts who may feel uncomfortable or even sexualised in normal suits”.

“Because, in our opinion, every gymnast should be able to decide which type of suit she feels most comfortable in,” Seitz added.

Voss also weighed in on their decision in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF.

“We, women, all want to feel good in our skin. In the sport of gymnastics it gets harder and harder as you grow out of your child’s body,” Voss said.

She added: “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.”

The team will compete in their first event at this year’s Olympics on Sunday, 25 July.

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