Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen is told her briefs are ‘too short and inappropriate’


Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen is left ‘speechless’ after a female official said her Adidas running briefs were ‘too short and inappropriate’ for competition

  • Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen, 24, was criticised over her running briefs
  • Official said the Adidas bottoms were ‘too short and inappropriate’ to wear 
  • Breen noted she has worn the same style to compete for ‘many years’
  • Questioned whether a male athlete would be called out over their clothes 

Two-time Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen has revealed she was left ‘speechless’ after being told her sprinting briefs were ‘too short and inappropriate’. 

Breen, 24, who has cerebral palsy and is set to compete at the Paralympics in Tokyo next month, was approached by a female official after the long jump event at the English Championships in Bedford on Sunday. 

The Welsh athlete, who competes as a sprinter and in the long jump, was wearing Adidas competition briefs that she has worn for ‘many years’ and questioned whether a male athlete would have received the same comments. 

Two-time Team GB Paralympian Olivia Breen has revealed she was left ‘speechless’ after being told her sprinting briefs were ‘too short and inappropriate’. Pictured, Olivia wearing the same jersey and briefs at another event last month

The Welsh athlete, who competes as a sprinter and in the long jump, was wearing Adidas competition briefs that she has worn for 'many years' and questioned whether a male athlete would have received the same comments

The Welsh athlete, who competes as a sprinter and in the long jump, was wearing Adidas competition briefs that she has worn for ‘many years’ and questioned whether a male athlete would have received the same comments

She wrote on Instagram: ‘I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events. 

‘They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight I feel disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition 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.

Breen wearing the same outfit in the long jump at the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last month. She said she has worn the same style of brief for 'many years'

Breen wearing the same outfit in the long jump at the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last month. She said she has worn the same style of brief for ‘many years’

‘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.’

Rules on the UK Athletics website state: ‘In all events competitors must wear at least vest and shorts (or equivalent clothing) which are clean and so designed and worn as not to be objectionable, even if wet.’

It does not provide further detail on dimensions, lengths or types of clothing. 

Breen, who is sponsored by Adidas, told the Guardian she intended to make an official complaint to UK Athletics. It is understood England Athletics spoke to Olivia this morning. 

Olivia, pictured wearing the briefs at the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last month, said female athletes should not be questioning how they look when competing

Olivia, pictured wearing the briefs at the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last month, said female athletes should not be questioning how they look when competing

British shot putter Amelia Strickler, 27, spoke out in support of Breen, saying: ‘Female athletes shouldn’t be subjected to such criticism when there is already so much pressure on women to be ‘perfect’. 

‘We are there to compete. You don’t like the outfits? Don’t officiate. We don’t need officials adding unnecessary stress in those moments.’

Breen won bronze at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London for the 4x100m Relay T35-T38. 

She failed to medal four years later in Rio, but went on to win gold in the long jump at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

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.’

UK Athletics has been approached for comment. 

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