Paralympic Olivia Breen says officials called her shorts “too short and inadequate”
Olivia Breen, a two-time Paralympic World Champion, said a volunteer official called her sprint shorts “too short and inadequate” at the English championships.
Breen, 24, said she was “speechless” after a female official made the remark at the English championships after finishing the long jump competition on Sunday. She said she hoped no other athletes would feel uncomfortable with the games.
“I have been wearing the same spring briefs for many years and they have been specially developed for competitions. I will hopefully wear them in Tokyo. I was wondering if a male competitor is being criticized similarly,” said Breen in a statement.
“I am aware that there have to be rules and guidelines regarding competition equipment, but women shouldn’t be biased about what they wear in competition, but rather feel comfortable and at ease.”
England Athletics did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
Breen, who suffers from cerebral palsy, won gold for the 4 x 100 m relay race at the 2015 IPC World Championships. She also won gold at the T38 long jump world championships in 2017. She also won bronze at the 2012 Paralympics in London.
She plans to represent the UK at the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics. After speaking out on Sunday, many athletes came out on social media in Berne’s defense.
“Please someone tell me how is this right,” British para-athlete Olivia Gallagher tweeted. “It is nowhere near true for officials to comment on clothing.
Polly Maton, a British Paralympist, said athletes should be able to wear anything that makes them comfortable. “Female athletes should be able to wear what makes THEIR performance comfortable (and what sports manufacturers have designed for us, largely beyond our control) regardless of what is considered ‘inappropriate’ by the male gaze,” said Maton tweeted.