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The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

Sporty Spice

Nike faces criticism after giving a sneak peak of their track and field outfits for Team USA in the 2024 Paris Olympics. This controversy resparks the conversation around sexism in sports.

The long standing complaint about women being over sexualized in sports increases with the most recent controversy over Nike’s Team USA track and field uniforms for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Nike first presented their 2024 national and federation Kits in Paris, during the “Nike On Air” experience which was held April 11.

.In Nike’s official statement regarding the uniforms made on April 12, “The 2024 national and federation kits are the most athlete-informed, data-driven and visually unified the company has ever produced.”

According to the brand, the kits were precisely engineered for each specific competition and were inspired by the “distinct identities and diverse communities” of the sports and countries they represented.

“Nike designed the Paris 2024 track and field kits to offer athletes a range of silhouettes tailored for various sport disciplines, body types and sizes, prioritizing performance and maximum breathability,” said Nike Chief Innovation Officer John Hoke.

While that may have been the intent, many athletes and people of the public did not take the reveal so positively. 

The specific uniform under fire is a USA track and field one piece, or leotard, that is particularly high cut on the hip, leaving little to the public’s imagination.

Multiple enraged professional athletes like American hurdler Queen Harrison Claye and paralympian Jaleen Roberts, have made jokes and comments about the lack of coverage that this version of the uniform offered.

On a post made by Citius Magazine, a track and field publication, giving a sneak peak of the uniforms, Claye commented saying, “Hi @europeanwax would you like to sponsor Team USA for the upcoming Olympic Games!? Please and thanks.”

Under the same post by Citius Magazine, Roberts commented similar sentiments about the uniform reveal.

“This mannequin is standing still and everything’s showing… imagine MID FLIGHT,” Roberts said. “No Brazilian wax could prepare me (or my lady parts) to wear that.”

Questioning why the designated female uniforms leave athletes so vulnerable while the designated male uniforms did not was a common theme within all the complaints being made.

First making waves when the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms, this is yet another example of women being oversexualized in sports under the cover of it being for performance purposes.

Former track and field athlete, Lauren Fleshman reposted Citius Magazine’s Nike sneak peak image to her Instagram with a caption highlighting how female kits should be “in service to performance, mentally and physically.”

“If this outfit was truly beneficial to physical performance, men would wear it,” Fleshman said. “This is not an elite athletic kit for track and field, this is a costume born of patriarchal forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get eyes on women’s sports.”

While Nike offers a variety of uniforms for athletes in each sport to choose from, by revealing the one piece they did as the first female uniform presented, it spotlighted an enduring inequality between men and women in sports; that female bodies in sports are put on display in a way that male bodies are not.

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Sahana George
Sahana George, Sports Editor

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