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Fury As British Paralympian Says She Was Told Her Shorts Were 'Too Short' For Competition

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Fury As British Paralympian Says She Was Told Her Shorts Were 'Too Short' For Competition

People have shared their fury in support of a Team GB Paralympian who was told her sprinting briefs were 'too short and inappropriate' for a competition.

Olivia Breen, 24, says she was approached by a female official after completing the long jump at the English Championships in Bedford on Sunday (18 July).

Breen, who lives with cerebral palsy, says she was 'left speechless' and claims she's been wearing the same style of briefs for many years which are designed for competing in.

Taking to her Instagram stories, she wrote: "I am always very grateful to the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletic events.

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Olivia Breen wearing the same shorts at the Muller British Athletics Championships last month. Credit: Gary Mitchell, GMP Media/Alamy Stock Photo
Olivia Breen wearing the same shorts at the Muller British Athletics Championships last month. Credit: Gary Mitchell, GMP Media/Alamy Stock Photo

"They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight I feel quite disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition at the English Championships, one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate.

"I was left speechless. I have been wearing the same style sprint briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in.

"I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues.

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"I recognise that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to the competition kit but women should not be made to feel self conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease."

Credit: Instagram/@livvy_breen
Credit: Instagram/@livvy_breen

She also posted a picture on the grid of herself from the weekend alongside the caption: "Thank you everyone for all your lovely supportive messages and I'm sorry to hear that it has happened to so many other people.

"Some people have asked what I was competing in yesterday so here is a picture."

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Olympic athlete Jazmin Sawyers responded to her post saying: "Liv these are standard racing briefs that everyone wears and the official was completely out of order.

"Really hope you're making an official complaint as she had NO business making a comment like that. Congrats on a great comp and sorry it was muddied by a rude official!!!"

Olivia Breen competing in the Muller British Athletics Championships. Credit: Nathan Stirk - British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images
Olivia Breen competing in the Muller British Athletics Championships. Credit: Nathan Stirk - British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images

Professional shot-putter Aled Davies also responded, writing: "Those officials man... they gave me a warning for being in the wrong kit (same kit I've been wearing all year) before then trying to say I was in the wrong event."

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Fellow athlete Amy Hunt commented: "Liv, you look absolutely fab in these!! It is not an official's job to police your body and it is certainly not ok for them to suggest that your (standard and widely worn) briefs were inappropriate.

"The inappropriateness was in their comment as well as those replying 'show us and we'll judge'. There is no rule about competition briefs. Unfortunately the official could not see past her internalised misogyny - we should be lifting other women up!! You are so incredible."

In a statement to LADbible, an England Athletics spokesperson said: "We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency.

"The wellbeing of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport."

Featured Image Credit: Nathan Stirk - British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images

Rebecca Shepherd
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