Olympic champion defends Nike's new controversial Team USA kit for women over sexist claims

Olympic champion defends Nike's new controversial Team USA kit for women over sexist claims

Joel Omotto 13:43 - 13.04.2024

The controversial Team USA Olympic kit for women unveiled by Nike has received rare support from an Olympic champion following widespread condemnation for being ‘sexist.’

The controversial US women’s Olympic kit unveiled by Nike on Thursday has received rare support from Olympic and double world pole vault champion Katie Moon.

Nike shared a sneak peek of its track and field uniforms for the 2024 Paris Olympics and for Team USA’s male team members, it was a compression tank top and mid-thigh shorts, a standard look that has been around since 1896.

However, it was one of the options for the women on Team USA that sparked backlash from social media users as well as former and current athletes.

The women’s bodysuit, modelled by world 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson, is cut notably high on the hip.

Athletes will be able to opt for the compression shorts Richardson wore during the preview or a tank top and bikini bottoms, which Olympian Anna Cockrell also modeled at the Paris event and there are even more options but they will not be revealed until the US Olympic Committee media summit in New York on April 15.

However, a first look of the of Team USA’s uniforms on mannequins on social media ignited the debate about women athletes’ uniforms with various outlets slamming it for being sexist but for Moon, there is nothing to worry about.

“I want to be clear and start by saying that what was shown on the mannequin was concerning, and warranted the response it received,” Moon posted on Instagram, insisting women should be allowed to choose what to wear.

“But I’ve also seen people making comments like, “Why can’t they just make the men’s uniform for the women?” I absolutely love people defending women, but we have at least 20 different combinations of a uniform to compete in with all the tops and bottoms available to us.

“We DO have the men’s option available to us if we want it. 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 then went on to stress that the perception of women dressing to appease men is the reason there is a huge outcry when the female athletes’ comfort should be the priority.

“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,” she added.

“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). The point is we DO have the choice of what to wear, and whether we feel the best in a potato sack or a bathing suit during competitions, we should support the autonomy.”

Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison Claye, three-time NCAA All-American track and field athlete Katelyn Hutchison and two-time Paralympic silver medalist Jaleen Roberts are among athletes who have voiced their displeasure over the kit.

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