2020 Tokyo Olympics: Why German Gymnasts are Wearing Full-Body Unitards

by Jacklyn Krol

Why was the Women’s Team Germany Gymnastics team wearing unitards at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Typically, female gymnasts are known to wear bikini-shaped leotards with a lower v-shape cut that looks like a one-piece swimsuit. Male gymnasts either don shorts and a form-fitting tank top. For the pommel horse event, they wear a unitard for their legs and feet that cover the entire lower half of their bodies.

The German team decided to go for an unconventional uniform with full-body unitards that covered their arms down to their elbows and legs. They did this to take a stand against the sexualization of the sport. This act received praise from spectators and fans online.

“We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear,” Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz told The Washington Post. She explained that they believe their choice of uniform helped them perform in an optimal mental state.

“We girls had a big influence on this,” athlete Sarah Voss added. “The coaches were also very much into it. They said they want us to feel the most confident and comfortable in any case. It just makes you feel better and more comfortable.”

Following their Sunday’s competition, the team was able to secure “Reserve 1” status. They achieved ninth place overall, just one position shy to qualify for the final set to take place on Tuesday.

“We sat together today and said, ‘Okay, we want to have a big competition. We want to feel amazing, we want to show everyone that we look amazing,’” Voss concluded.

Some of the team members previously wore full body unitards for a competition in April at the European Gymnastics Championships.

Another Olympics Change of Dress

The Norwegian Women’s Handball Team also made a change to the typical Olympics uniform. However, their act made them receive a ridiculous fine. They broke the dress code by wearing shorts instead of the bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships.

Ironically, the men’s team is allowed to wear longer shorts that are not form-fitting. The International Handball Federation’s strict uniform regulations did not sit well with the athletes nor the majority of social media users who supported their decision.

Each athlete was fined 150 Euros for wearing the shorts, which came to 1,500 for the entire team. The Norway Handball Federation agreed to pay the fine and defended their team’s decision.

“We are the Norwegian Handball Federation and we stand behind you and support you. We will continue to fight to change the international regulations for attire so that players can play in the clothing they are comfortable with,” they wrote.