Beach Volleyball Players Get to Cover Up

Debates over female athletes' clothing roil Games
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 27, 2012 12:33 AM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2012 12:51 AM CDT
Simone Kuhn from Switzerland participates in a practice session for the women's beach volleyball at the 2012 Summer Olympics this week in London.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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(Newser) – As the top athletes of the world go head-to-head with rivals, what are people talking about? What the female athletes are wearing. Some are removing clothing, while others are adding coverage, and still others are smoldering about battles over skirts. A female judo competitor from Saudi Arabia—which is sending female athletes to the Games for the first time in history—is ditching her hijab during competition. But beach volleyball players for the first time are allowed to opt for shorts rather than the skimpy bikini bottoms they traditionally wear—to the disappointment of several males in the audience, notes the Washington Post. (The Americans plan to stick with the bikini bottoms). And female boxers had to fight it out over skirts, an idea pitched by the International Boxing Association to help viewers tell the women from the men.

“I really didn’t understand that,” said Claressa Shields, 17, the youngest member of the US boxing team."Women got breasts! We got butts! Can’t you tell which one is who?” Coach Gloria Peek was dumbfounded. “The skirt equates to sex; it equates to nothing else," she told the Post. “This is a pugilistic sport, a combative sport. And you want to put sex into it? For what reason?” Fight won; the boxers will only wear skirts if they want to. Skirts are also optional for badminton after howls of protest over a uniform plan aimed at attracting more fans through “a stylish presentation of the players.”

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