Paralympian Olivia Breen angered after official said her sprint shorts were 'too short'

July 20, 2021

Double Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen says she was left "speechless" after an official at the English Championships told her that her sprint briefs were "too short and inappropriate."

The 24-year-old detailed the incident in a Twitter post on Sunday, saying that while she was grateful to the volunteers who officiate at the competitions, women should not be made to feel self-conscious while competing.
"I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events," Breen told her 10,200 followers. "They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete."

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Breen said the remark hurt more coming from another woman.
    "You have no right to say what I can and can't wear," said Breen, adding that she went public to raise awareness.
    England Athletics have been in touch with her, she said, and she is planning to make an official compliant.
    "They (England Athletics) have been very supportive, which is really nice," she said.

    According to the Welsh star -- who won a gold medal at the 2017 IPC World Championships in the T38 long jump and took gold and set a world record in the T35-38 100-meter sprint relay in the same competition in 2015 -- her briefs are specifically designed for competitions and she has been wearing similar ones for many years without complaint.
    Breen, who has cerebral palsy, will represent Britain at the Tokyo Paralympics next month. She said in her post that she will "hopefully" be wearing the same sprint briefs in Tokyo.

    "When you are competing, you want to feel as light as possible to make you perform better," Breen told CNN, explaining she prefers briefs to be short because they make her feel "more free."
    "We are entitled to wear what we are given and what we can wear," she added.
    The Paralympian said remarks like those from the official on Sunday could "ruin confidence and self-esteem" of younger female athletes.

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