P Photo/Ashley Landis

Controversy Erupts As Nike Unveils Skimpy Uniforms for USA Women’s Track & Field Olympic Team

On Thursday, Nike unveiled the first look at Team USA’s uniforms for the Olympic track and field team to compete in during the upcoming summer Olympic Games. The women’s uniform, featuring barely-there bottoms sparked backlash from both current and former athletes, who argue that the design is unnecessarily revealing and carries sexist undertones.

The Team USA uniforms, showcased by Nike at an event in Paris, the host city of the 2024 Summer Olympics, featured a men’s compression tank top and mid-thigh shorts, while the women’s bodysuit was notably cut high on both legs–leading to the perception that it would require detailed grooming preparation.

Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison Claye even humorously suggested that the European Wax Center should sponsor Team USA for the Olympic season, writing on Instagram,

Additionally, two-time Team USA Paralympian Femita Ayanbeku expressed her dismay on Instagram, labeling the uniforms as a joke, commenting on the post, 

The criticism didn’t stop there, with long jumper Abigail Irozuru questioning whether any female athletes were consulted in the design process. 

Two-time World Championship gold medal sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson modeled the outfit at the event but opted for the compression shorts version instead. While Nike did not respond to media inquiries, John Hoke, Nike’s chief innovation officer, mentioned that the showcased uniforms were just one of several options available to athletes.

The debate surrounding women’s athletic uniforms began to gain traction in 2021, when the Norwegian national women’s beach handball team protested against a regulation about bikini bottoms by competing in thigh-length shorts. This incident sparked a broader discussion about why female athletes are often required to wear revealing attire while their male counterparts have more modest options.

Multi-time U.S. Championship runner Lauren Fleshman posted on Instagram, writing,

Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Katie Moon posted to social media suggesting that she had tried on “the same style” and thinks the problems are related to the mannequin display, writing,

The controversy surrounding Nike’s unveiling of skimpy Team USA track uniforms is part of a broader trend of ongoing discussions about women’s sports apparel. At the same time, there is growing traction in the movement against transgender athletes competing in women’s sports internationally.

The Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, signaling the start of the international competition, will be held on July 26. 

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