Saturday, May 18, 2024

The truth about the itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikini story that went viral

No, women are not required to wear bikinis to play beach volleyball at the Olympics. And the camera lingering on players’ glutes as they make hand signals to teammates is not a problem for most players, CBC reports. “I have always felt like when you get somebody drawn in, however you get them into beach volleyball, they fall in love with the sport,” said American April Ross, a three-time Olympian. “So, hopefully that happens also.” Beach volleyball has been one of the most popular sports at the Summer Games since it was added to the program in 1996. It has fast action, a party atmosphere and some telegenic stars including Canadian tandems Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes and Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, all of whom are competing at the Tokyo Games. Attention on bikinis intensified in Tokyo after a viral social media post misidentified a team that protested a beach handball dress code as playing beach volleyball. Beach handball, which is not an Olympic sport, requires women to wear bikinis, and the European federation fined the Norwegians for wearing shorts as a protest at a competition 5,500 miles away in Bulgaria. In Tokyo this week, the German gymnastics team wore full-legged unitards that went down to their ankles, eschewing the traditional bikini cut that ends high on the hip. The athletes said they were trying to combat the sexualization of young women and girls in their sport, which is trying to recover from a decades-long sexual abuse scandal. The head of broadcasting at the Tokyo Games said this week their feeds will not highlight sexualized images of female athletes, instead focusing on “sport appeal, not sex appeal.” But beach volleyball players embrace their gear — and to them, equipment is precisely what the bikinis are — and choose it in almost all circumstances over more conservative attire. The FIVB issued 22 pages of uniform guidelines for Tokyo, covering everything from fabric and colour to names and numbers and how big manufacturers’ logos can be. Teammates also have to match. An appendix has drawings of potential styles for women, including short sleeves and tank tops, long sleeves for modesty and long sleeves for warmth, long pants and shorts, and a one-piece bathing suit or a bikini. The men wear tank tops and board shorts, which can go over long-sleeved shirts and tights in cold weather. There are also options for teams with religious dress codes. “The FIVB beach volleyball uniform guidelines allow for a variety of different options,” the international federation said. “Beach volleyball welcomes all, and these uniform regulations ensure that our sport is culturally and religiously inclusive.” Added Ross: “Beach volleyball was a sport that was developed in Hawaii and Southern California and on the beaches of Rio. And you play, and it’s hot, and then you go and jump in the water.” One-piece bathing suits won’t work, because the sand gets inside and chafes; in fact, the players say, the less material that can trap sand, the better. Ross and her partner Alix Klineman, who helped design their own uniforms, also said it’s important that the straps do not restrict her movement or breathing. “For us, this is what feels most comfortable,” Klineman said. “You’re not wearing more clothing in really hot weather; getting sand stuck in places is not fun. But I totally respect other people wanting to be more covered if that’s what makes them more comfortable.”

 

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/summer/volleyball/beach/olympic-beach-volleyball-why-women-wear-bikinis-1.6119234

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