Paralympian Olivia Breen says official called her sprinting shorts 'too short and inappropriate'

by 24USATVJuly 20, 2021, 2 a.m. 16
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Two-time Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she was "left speechless" after an English Championships official told her that her sprinting shorts were "too short and inappropriate."

Breen posted on Twitter Sunday evening that the incident occurred after finishing the long jump competition at the English Championships earlier the same day. She said while she was grateful for all the competition's volunteers, she was disappointed with what the official told her and women shouldn't feel self conscious about what they wear.

"I have been wearing the same style sprint briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in. I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised (sic). I hope no other female athletes had similar issues," Breen wrote.

In an interview with The Guardian, Breen said she was wearing official Adidas briefs.

Breen told CNN England Athletics have been in contact with her about incident as she plans to file an official complaint.

"We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency. The wellbeing of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport," an England spokesperson told The Guardian.

England Athletics did not respond to immediate request for comment by USA TODAY.

The 24-year-old posted on Twitter Monday what she wore during the event and thanked people for sending her supportive messages.

Breen, who has cerebral palsy, will represent Britain when the Tokyo Paralympics begin on August 24. In her first Paralympics at the 2012 Games in London, she won bronze in the women's 4x100-meter relay. She also won gold in the relay race at the 2015 IPC World Championships and in the T38 long jump at the world championships in 2017.

"Female athletes should be able to wear what makes THEM feel comfortable to perform (and what sports manufacturers have designed for us, largely out of our control) regardless of what is deemed ‘improper’ as informed by the male gaze," fellow British Paralympic sprinter and long jumper Polly Maton said on Twitter.

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