German gymnasts wear body-covering coveralls, rejecting the “sexualization” of sport

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The suits, which the team wore on Sunday in their qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, cover the legs up to the ankle and contrast with the high-cut leotards worn by many other female gymnasts at the Olympics.

“It’s about what’s comfortable,” said German gymnast Elisabeth Seitz. “We wanted to show that every woman, everyone, should decide what to wear.”

The team also wore the unitards during their podium training at Ariake Gymnastics Center on Thursday after making them debut in April at the European Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

The outfits are a statement against ‘sexualization in gymnastics’, the German Gymnastics Federation said in April, adding: “The goal is to present yourself aesthetically – without feeling uncomfortable.”

According to the International Gymnastics Federation, the governing body of competitive gymnastics, long-sleeved or long-sleeved gymnastics outfits and leggings are allowed in competition, as long as the color matches the leotard.

Seitz said other athletes have responded positively to Unitards and that she hopes others will feel free to wear whatever clothing they want in the future.

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“Most people were positive about it. But after the European Championships the time was far too short for others to design a unitard. Maybe in the future. We really hope so,” said said Seitz.

The team said they have made the decision to wear the unitards to the Olympics as a group and are supported by their coaches.

“We girls had a big influence on this,” said gymnast Sarah Voss. “The coaches were also very interested. They said they wanted us to feel the most confident and at ease in any case. It makes you feel better and more at ease.”

Seitz stressed that wearing the unitard is about choice and comfort.

“We decided this was the most comfortable leotard for today,” Seitz said after podium practice Thursday, “That doesn’t mean we don’t want to wear the regular leotard anymore. a day-to-day decision, based on how we feel and what we want. On the day of the competition we will decide what to wear. “

CNN’s Claudia Otto and Nina Avramova contributed reporting.



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