Two-time Paralympic World Champion Receives Sexist Commentary During Competition

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Two-time Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen from Great Britain had to go through an embarrassing situation during the English Athletics Championships held in Bedford, 74 km from London. The 24-year-old athlete, who will compete at the Tokyo-2020 Paralympic Games, heard from a referee that her swim trunks were “too small and unsuitable”.

Breen, who has cerebral palsy, told British newspaper The Guardian that she wore official Adidas swimwear for 2021. Further, he questioned whether any person would ever be forced to listen to such comments. “As I finished my long jump competition, one of the officials thought it necessary to inform me that my running briefs were too short and inadequate. I was speechless.”

The athlete, who won bronze at the London 2012 Games, said she has been wearing the same style of sprint swimwear for several years and they have been specifically designed to compete. “I hope I’m using them in Tokyo,” he said.

The British representative of paraathletics is a two-time world champion in two disciplines. In 2015, he won the 4×100 relay in the T35-38 class at the Dubai edition in Qatar, and two years later he won the gold medal in the T38 long jump brawl held in London.

She confirmed to the English newspaper that she intended to make an official complaint to UK Athletics. Your case is not the only one. A former Breen training partner has reported a similar problem to the English Athletics Federation, but has yet to receive a response.

Both were upset that a judge took this approach during a competition in 2021. “I’m really surprised by the number of female athletes or their coaches who have told me about similar incidents happening to them.”

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British shot putter Amelia Stricker supported him, saying that judges making such “unnecessary” remarks should be banned from acting. “We’re there to compete. Don’t like the clothes? Don’t act. We don’t need employees adding unnecessary stress at times like these.”

He added that “athletes should not fall prey to this kind of criticism when there is so much pressure on them to be ‘perfect’.” So far, athletics organizations in the United Kingdom and England have not commented.

Sarah Gracie

About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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