Who is Olivia Breen? UK Paralympian enraged after official calls her shorts 'inappropriate'
'It made me question whether a male competitor would be simply criticized,' Breen wrote in her statement after the incident
Two-time Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen "was left speechless" after an official at the English Championships called her sprinting briefs "too short and inappropriate". The incident happened prior to the long jump competition on July 18, 2021, when the UK athlete faced the remark from a volunteer female official. The 24-year-old later tweeted a statement saying she was "quite disappointed" at the comment.
"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 simply criticized. I hope no other female athletes had similar issues," Breen further stated. She was wearing the Adidas official 2021 briefs which were called out by the official. Breen would be participating in the Tokyo Paralympics in August 2021. She would represent United Kingdom due to her Welsh heritage.
Who is Olivia Breen?
Born on July 26, 1996, Olivia Breen suffers from cerebral palsy but has been a sports champion since her childhood. She began racing in primary school and earned her T38 classification in January 2012, at the age of 15 years.
After record performances at the European Championships and the Diamond League, Breen participated in the 2012 Summer Paralympics, where she was the youngest member of the Paralympics athletics team of Great Britain. While she did not win any medal at the 100 m and 200 m sprints, Breen and her team managed to secure bronze at the 4X100 m relay finals.
In 2014, Breen took a big leap in her athletics career, quite literally, as she competed in long jump for Wales. The young athlete won a gold medal in the T35-38 100m sprint relay at the 2015 IPC World Championships, as well as the T38 long jump in 2017. She also won a gold in long jump at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
Following the shorts controversy, Breen issued an elaborate statement where she also said, "I recognize that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to 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.”
After receiving support and solidarity from people worldwide, Breen posted a message of gratitude on her Instagram, saying, "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. I don’t think it is “ objectionable” within the UKA regulations.