Paralympian Olivia Breen angry after official says her sprint shorts are ‘too short’


The 24-year-old detailed the incident in a Message on Twitter Sunday, saying that while she was grateful to the volunteers who officiate at the competitions, women should not be made to feel embarrassed during the competition.

“I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at track and field events,” Breen told her 10,200 followers. “They do an amazing job and allow us to compete.”

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Breen said the remark hurt more from another woman.

“You don’t have the right to say what I can and can’t wear,” Breen said, adding that she had gone public to raise awareness.

England Athletics has been in contact with her, she said, and she plans to officially comply.

“They (England Athletics) have been very supportive which is really good,” she said.

“Ruin trust”

Sprint briefs in question were the official Adidas 2021 briefs, Breen told The Guardian.

According to the Welsh star – who won a gold medal at the 2017 IPC World Championships in the T38 long jump and won gold and set a world record in the T35-38 sprint relay 100 meters in the same competition in 2015 – her briefs are specially designed for competitions and she has been wearing similar ones for many years without complaint.

Breen, who suffers from cerebral palsy, will represent Great Britain at the Tokyo Paralympics next month. She said in her post that she would “hopefully” wear the same sprint briefs in Tokyo.

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“When you’re competing you want to feel as light as possible to perform better,” Breen told CNN, explaining that she preferred the briefs to be short because they made her feel “freer”.

“We have the right to wear what we are given and what we can wear,” she added.

The Paralympic athlete said remarks like the official Sunday could “ruin the confidence and self-esteem” of young female athletes.

“For me it just made me angry. If I was 16 or something, it would make me cry,” said Breen, who thinks officials need to be given better advice on the use of appropriate language when dealing with Paralympians.

“They should treat us with respect and not make us feel like garbage.”

Double standard

The athlete – who also won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games – denounced the apparent double standard in his Twitter post, saying the experience “made me wonder if a male competitor would be criticized for the same way. I hope no other female athlete has had similar issues. ”

“I agree that there must be regulations and guidelines regarding competition dress, but women should not feel embarrassed by what they are wearing in competition, but should feel comfortable and comfortable. comfortable, ”she added.

The 2020-2022 edition of the “Competition Rules” for Athletes in the United Kingdom (UKA) states that “In all events, athletes must wear clothing that is clean, designed and worn in such a way as not to be objectionable”.

The guidelines also state that clothing “must be made of a non-transparent material even if wet” and that athletes “must not wear clothing that could obstruct the view of the judges.”

Another British athlete, shot putter Amelia Strickler, responded to Breen’s post saying remarks like those made by the official on Sunday have contributed to the pressure female athletes are already facing.

“Female athletes shouldn’t be subjected to such criticism when there is already so much pressure on women to be ‘perfect’,” Strickler wrote on Twitter.

“We’re here to compete. You don’t like the outfits? Don’t officiate. We don’t need the officials to add unnecessary stress to these times.”

Adidas described Breen as an “inspiration on and off the track”.

“It is disappointing to see her judged on anything other than her athletic performance. We fully endorse her comments and hope they will be taken into account by the event organizers,” an Adidas spokesperson said in a statement sent to CNN.

CNN has contacted England Athletics for further comment.

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