The powerful story behind the German gymnastics team’s unitards

The powerful story behind the German gymnastics team’s unitards

By fijivillage
Wednesday 28/07/2021

When the women's gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympic games will kicks off, we will all get to see athletes compete superhuman feats of strength and artistry. But that isn’t the only story. Team Germany showcased a different kind of competition gear. Not the sleeveless or long-sleeved leotard which has been the standard since the 1930s, but a long-legged unitard. A new sight at the Olympic Games, sure, but Team Germany has been rocking them since earlier this year. Their outfits are, according to the German Gymnastics Federation, a statement against, “against sexualization in gymnastics.”

The four gymnasts representing Germany, Kim Bui, Pauline Schaefer, Sarah Voss, and Elisabeth Seitz, wore fuchsia unitards with lace cutouts on the legs and collar and a silver eagle on the side today. The full-length legs are still skintight, but add a level of modesty compared to the bikini-cut leotards you’d expect to see. The actual competition uniforms will be different from the attire they wore to podium training, but it’s likely they will still be wearing unitards.

Seitz, Bui, and Voss first wore similar unitards in competition at the 2021 European Gymnastics Championships in Basel, Switzerland in April, garnering headlines. As Seitz wrote on Instagram at the time, it was to, “set an example ... to all gymnasts who may feel uncomfortable or even sexualized in normal suits. Because, in our opinion, every gymnast should be able to decide in which type of suit she feels most comfortable — and then do gymnastics.”

It’s worth noting that an athlete can face a deduction for adjusting their uniform during their routines—even if they get a wedgie. A skintight catsuit still shows off the body, but doesn’t run the risk of exposing an athlete mid-routine. For any critics who worry about a catsuit obscuring a gymnast’s form, remember that male gymnasts typically wear a singlet under comparatively loose, stirrup trousers.

The change in dress comes as women's gymnastics in the United States is facing a reckoning. Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, is currently serving a 176 year sentence for sexually abusing hundreds of young gymnasts, including the entirety of the 2012 Olympic team and four of the five members of the 2016 team. Will unitards solve that particular kind of abuse? No, and nobody is saying it will. But it is one way athletes can regain control.

[source: Sarah Spellings/]

Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Womens Rugby World Cup 2022
Quarter-final qualification is now the goal for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana 15’s following their 21-17 victory against South Africa.
105 days ago

Queen Elizabeth II passes away
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
135 days ago

Fiji wins Melrose Cup after 17 years
Fiji wins the RWC 7s title after 17 year drought
137 days ago
FNPF paid out $467 million to its members in the 2021/22 financial year - CEO
The Fiji National Provident Fund has paid out a total of $467 million to its members in the 2021 to 2022 financial year, a decrease of $33.8 million f...
5 minutes ago
Murder accused to face court
The man alleged to have murdered a 35-year-old farmer during an argument out at sea between Laucala Island and Taveuni last week has been ...
36 minutes ago

Body of man found under Vatuwaqa bridge identified
A relative of the man whose body was found under the Vatuwaqa Bridge earlier this week has come forward. Police say the victim has been identified ...
36 minutes ago

Rihanna to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl
Rihanna will perform at halftime of Super Bowl 57 on the 13th of this month. The NFL is going back to the traditional setup of a singular act ...
3 hours ago

FBI search President Biden's Delaware home over classified documents
The FBI is searching President Joe Biden's home in Rehoboth (Reh-Ho-Berth), Delaware as part of an investigation into classified documents. In a ...
3 hours ago

Year 8 exam results out today
Fiji Year Eight Examination provisional results have been released today as the Education Ministry has recorded a 62 percent pass rate compared to 69 ...
4 hours ago