Beach Volleyball Players Can Now Drop Their Bikinis
Skirts for boxers? Hijabs for soccer players? Everyone seems to have an opinion about the appropriate attire for female athletes.
Now it looks like bikini lovers will also be weighing in.
For the first time since beach volleyball became an Olympic medal event 16 years ago, players will be permitted to wear shorts and sleeves. The bikini, the standard uniform, is now optional.
New rules handed down by the International Volleyball Federation were adopted to respect cultural mores of several countries still vying to qualify for the games. Players in less conservative countries (like the U.S.) are still expected to wear skimpy gear but it is no longer required.
The Board approved to apply the modified women’s uniform rule - which was implemented for the Continental Cup - for all beach volleyball tournaments, including the Olympic Games. This is to respect the custom and/or religious beliefs.
Previously there were two uniform choices for female players, a one-piece bathing suit or a bikini with a maximum side width of 7cm while full body suits could also be used under the bikini in cold weather. Now, there are three extra choices. Players can wear shorts of a maximum length of 3cm above the knee with sleeved or sleeveless tops or a full body suit.
Not surprisingly, there are rumblings about how the change in uniform policy will affect ratings for volleyball. The reality is — right or wrong — plenty of people tune into women’s beach volleyball to watch the players in bikinis.
The women's tournament at London will be played from July 28-Aug. 12 and regardless of the dress code, it is expected to sell out almost every session.
How much do the uniforms factor in to whether or not you'll watch beach volleyball?