North American Olympic athletes criticize Nike for its women's clothing

North American Olympic athletes criticize Nike for its women's clothing

Nike's US women's track and field kit is unnecessarily revealing and sexist, several female athletes said after the US sportswear brand unveiled the clothing for the Olympics.

The images made public on Thursday of the women's kit on a mannequin, in which a very high cut of the panties can be seen, They unleashed criticism from several athletes for what they considered a decision that prioritizes stinginess over functionality.

“They are not made for performance at all,” American steeplechaser Colleen Quigley said in a message to Reuters.

For years there has been debate about the need for Olympic athletes to wear revealing outfits in disciplines such as beach volleyball or gymnastics.

At the Tokyo Olympics, the German women's gymnastics team wore full-body suits, in what they saw as a stance against the sexualization of the sport. Gymnastics New Zealand last week updated its dress code to allow women and girls to wear shorts or tights over leotards.

In an email sent to Reuters, Nike reported that for these Olympic Games it offered athletes the possibility of choosing between panties and shorts, while at the Tokyo Olympics it only offered the former.

Nike track and field kits for men and women include nearly 50 pieces and 12 competition styles for specific events, the brand said when launching the kits.

Nike-sponsored pole vaulter Katie Moon said in a post on X that the equipment displayed on the mannequin was “concerning.” but added that athletes are given many options about what to wear, and that she prefers panties to shorts.

A USA Track & Field spokesperson said: “The athletes' options and choices were the driving force for USATF in the planning process with Nike.”

The American middle distance runner Athing Mu and the sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson were some of the athletes who wore the Nike Olympic kits at the presentation parade in Paris. While Mu wore panties, Richardson sported a version of the kit with shorts.