US Olympic uniform for track athletes sparks concerns about coverage: ‘Everything’s showing’

American Olympic track and field athletes expressed their outrage about one part of the uniform they’re supposed to wear for the Paris Games this summer.

A red, white and blue leotard was at the center of the issue. The garment barely covers the bikini line. It didn’t appear that shorts were supposed to match the attire. The uniform, which popped up on social media, stretched over a mannequin.

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U.S. athlete Sha’Carri Richardson attends a Nike event in Paris on April 11, 2024. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)

Athing Mu in Paris

U.S. athlete Athing Mu attends a Nike event in Paris on April 11, 2024. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)

USA Track and Field (USATF) told the Associated Press that Nike consulted with several athletes while designing the uniforms. American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson and Athing Mu were among those who modeled the uniforms last week. Their versions covered more than the kit that drew ire.

Nike executive John Hoke said the company worked “directly with athletes throughout every stage of the design process.” USATF added that “athlete options and choices were the driving force for USATF in the planning process with Nike.”

The post from Citius Mag that circulated around social media drew immediate pushback.

Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison joked that the European Wax Center should be the sponsor for the team.

Paralympian long jumper Jaleen Roberts wrote on Instagram, “This mannequin is standing still and everything’s showing… imagine MID FLIGHT.”

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U.S. athlete Sha’Carri Richardson models the Nike uniform in Paris on April 11, 2024. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)

Retired track athlete Lauren Fleshman said, “This is a costume born of patriarchal forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get eyes on women’s sports.”

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Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Katie Moon, who will look to defend her title in Paris, defended Nike in an Instagram post. But she added that the leotard shown on the mannequin “was concerning, and warranted the response it received.”

She said that she and her fellow athletes have a choice when it comes to attire.

“When you attack the buns and crop top saying something along the lines of it’s ‘sexist’ (which if that was our only choice, it would be), even if it’s with the best of intentions, you’re ultimately attacking our decision as women to wear it,” Moon wrote. 

Katie Moon in February 2024

Katie Moon reacts after winning the women’s pole vault during the USATF Indoor Championships, February 17, 2024, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

“And if you honestly think that on the most important days of our careers we’re choosing what we wear to appease the men watching over what we’re most comfortable and confident in, to execute to the best of our abilities, that’s pretty offensive. I personally like the buns because I want as little fabric clinging to me when I’m hot and sweaty (which I am at 99% of meets I compete in).”

Moon added in a post on X that she tried on the controversial attire.

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“If this can help put women’s minds at ease a bit…I tried on the same style today and didn’t feel worried about…things…popping out. I think it’s just the mannequin. This felt like the last kit just a slightly higher cut. I know every body is different tho so just my take.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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