Paralympian Olivia Breen on Tuesday showed a TV broadcast what she was wearing when she said she was told her sportswear was “too short and inappropriate.”
Breen appeared on Sky News and showed the Adidas-branded briefs she was wearing at the English Championships when she said a female official suggested what she was wearing was too revealing.
Recalling the incident Sunday, the 24-year-old told the station she had just finished one of her final competitions when the official came up to her.
“Basically, this official came up to me and said, ‘Can I talk to you?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah sure, what’s up?’ because I got on quite well with all the officials. And she was like, ‘Your briefs are too revealing. I think you should buy a new pair of shorts,’” Breen said.
“I didn’t know what to say. I just looked speechless. And I just said to her, ‘Are you joking?’ And she said, ‘No, I think you should consider buying a new pair of shorts.’ And I just looked at my teammate. … I just didn’t know what to say. And she walked off. You shouldn’t tell us what we can’t wear and can wear. I’ve been wearing this for nine years. I’ve never had a problem like this before.”
Breen showed the broadcast exactly what she was wearing, which didn’t appear to look like anything out of the ordinary.
“Personally, I think the official should get educated on this because this can’t happen again. …. I think it’s really wrong,” Breen added.
Breen, who has cerebral palsy, wrote on Twitter on Sunday she was “disappointed” with the remark.
“I am always grateful to the incredible volunteers who officiate athletic events. They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete,” Breen’s statement started.
“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.”
She said in her initial statement she was left “speechless” by the remark and said she had been wearing the same type of shorts for years and they are “specifically designed for competing in.”
“I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me questioned whether a male competitor would be similarly criticized. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues. I recognize that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to competition kit but women should not be made self conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should be comfortable at ease.”
England Athletics said it was investigating the matter.
Breen said Tuesday she is hoping to find out soon whether she will be representing Britain in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next month.
She represented Britain in the 2012 London Games. She won bronze in the 4x100m relay. Since then, she’s picked up gold medals in the 2015 and 2017 World Championships and the 2016 European Championships. While representing Wales, she won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.