2020 Tokyo Olympics: Everything to Know About the Olympic Dress Code

by Clayton Edwards

Many people stop worrying about dress codes when they finish high school. Sure, some jobs have expectations of what to wear. However, most people leave long lists of arbitrary rules governing attire in their rearview mirrors when they enter the adult world. However, some of the greatest athletes on Earth are once again saddled with a list of rules that seem both arbitrary and confusing. Recent reports show that some athletes think that it’s time for the Olympic dress code to change.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally getting started. However, some athletes can’t focus on the grandeur of the opening ceremony or the fierce competition of the games. Instead, they have to make sure that their uniforms are in accordance with the Olympic dress code. Some have faced penalties for wearing too much. On the other hand, other Olympians have been penalized for wearing what the governing body sees as too little. It seems like a fine line to walk. At the same time, it seems like an unfortunate distraction for these world-class athletes.

Unsurprisingly, the athletes who have recently run afoul of the Olympic dress code are women. Women have been competing in the games for over 100 years, according to Olympics.com. Back then, they had to compete in ankle-length skirts. Recently, however, one Olympic team was penalized for wearing bottoms that were not short enough.

Women Run Afoul of the Olympic Dress Code

For instance, the Norwegian women’s beach handball team is currently competing in the Olympics but recently got fined for a dress code violation.  The European Handball Federation fined the team the equivalent of $175 per player. Why? Because the team chose to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms, according to a CNN report. The sport’s regulations state that female handball players have to wear bikini bottoms with a side width of no more than 3.9 inches. The bottoms also have to be snug and “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” Men in the sport, on the other hand, have to wear shorts that “aren’t too baggy,” and sit no less than 3.9 cm above the kneecap.

Another CNN report highlights Olivia Breen. She is a two-time Paralympic world champion sprinter. She was told that the shorts she wore to compete were too short, too revealing, and inappropriate. Her briefs were specially designed for competition. Furthermore, they are the same style of briefs she has been wearing for years.

Breen sums it up eloquently stating, “I recognize that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to competition [attire] but women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel more comfortable and at ease.” After all, they’re competing at the highest level possible. Olympic or any other dress codes should be the last thing on their minds.