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Olivia Breen British Paralympian peechless39; after sprint briefs

Olivia Breen  British Paralympian  peechless39; after sprint briefs


Angry Breen left speechless by official Mon, 19 Jul 2021 15:00:00 +0100-Double Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she was left speechless after an official at the English Championships remarked that her sprint briefs were …

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Olivia Breen: British Paralympian ‘speechless’ after sprint briefs called ‘too short and inappropriate’

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Double Para-world-champion Olivia Breen says she was left speechless after being told the shorts she was competing in at the English Championships were too short.

Double Para-world-champion Olivia Breen says she was left speechless after being told the shorts she was competing in at the English Championships were too short.

Double Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she was left speechless after an official at the English Championships remarked that her sprint briefs were “too short and inappropriate”.

Breen, who won world gold in the T35-38 4x100m in 2015 and then the T38 long jump two years later, will be competing at the Paralympics next month.

The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, questioned whether a male competitor would have faced similar comments after her briefs were queried upon finishing the long jump in Bedford on Sunday.

“I am always very grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events,” said Breen, who also won T38 long jump gold for Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, on Twitter.

“They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight I feel quite disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition at the English Championships, one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate. I was left speechless.

“I have been wearing the same sprint style 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. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues.

“I recognise that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to competition kit but women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease.”

England Athletics called Breen on Monday morning and asked her to submit a formal complaint so they can investigate the matter.

Breen told Sky Sports News she believes the official in question should be educated rather than punished.

“She just said what you're wearing is too revealing,” Breen added. “My first instinct was, are you joking? She was just like 'No you should consider buying shorts'. I looked at my team-mate and asked what happened, and then the official walked off.

“I think she should be educated. She doesn't have any right to go up to a female and say what we can and can't wear.

“[I'm] angry. I've had so many comments since the statement saying 'It happened to me' and they don't feel confident speaking about it. That shouldn't happen to people, we should feel confident with what we're wearing.

“I was wearing my club vest and sponsored pants, we should feel comfortable, but not being judged by an official. I want this to change. I want athletes to feel comfortable in what they compete it. Yesterday was 32 degrees.”

An England Athletics spokesperson said: “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.”

British Athletics were also approached for comment.


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Olivia Breen: British Paralympian 'speechless' after sprint briefs … Mon, 19 Jul 2021 15:00:00 +0100-Double world champion para-athlete Olivia Breen said she was left angry and speechless after being told to wear 'more appropriate' shorts.

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Angry Breen left speechless by official

Olivia Breen is set to compete at the Paralympics in Tokyo next month

Double world champion para-athlete Olivia Breen said she was left angry and speechless after being told to wear “more appropriate” shorts.

Breen, 24, says an official at the English Championships on Sunday told her briefs were “too short and revealing”.

The sprinter and long jumper said she was highlighting the incident to stop it happening to others.

“It made me feel really angry and it's very wrong,” said Breen.

“You know they can't comment on what we can and can't wear.”

Breen won a world championship gold medal in the T35-38 4x100m class in 2015 and again in 2017 in the T38 long jump and has been wearing the same style of competition briefs from her sponsor throughout her career.

“They are like high-waisted bikini bottoms,” she told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour programme.

“I've worn them for nine years, I've never had a problem and we should feel comfortable with what we wear.

“We want to be as light as possible when we're competing, not having to feel heavy, and to feel comfortable.

“We should just wear what we're entitled to wear.”

Breen, who also won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, told the programme the incident occurred after she competed in the long jump in Bedford.

“I'd just finished my competition and was thanking the officials for their help and their support and this official came up to me and said 'can I talk to you?' and I was like yeah, what's the problem?

“She said 'I think what you're wearing is very revealing and I think you should consider buying shorts'. I didn't know what to say I was left speechless and my first thought process was 'are you joking?'.”

Breen believes male athletes would not face similar scrutiny or criticism but, after posting about the incident on social media, said other females have told her they have suffered similar experiences.

“I've never personally felt self-conscious, but yesterday made me feel very angry and obviously from the response on Instagram and Twitter that I've had, it has happened to a lot of young girls and athletes and it needs to change,” she added.

“I think people haven't spoken out about it because they feel afraid and I want people to feel confident and speak out about it because it's wrong what happened and this needs to stop happening to us.

“I'm just going to take it as far as I can. I really want to get the message out there and I obviously want to make a change in female sport so people can't make comments again about what we can and can't wear.”

Another British athlete, shot putter Amelia Stricker, said officials who made such “unnecessary” comments should not officiate, a point of view Breen shares.

“Yes I do very strongly {agree],” she said.

“They do an amazing job and I really appreciate their support but they can't make comments on what we wear. They are there to do their job and help us, not by commenting on what we wear, regardless.”

UKA and England Athletics have been approached for comment.


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– July 19, 2021
Olivia Breen British Paralympian peechless39; after sprint briefs

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