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The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Nike’s Controversial Women’s Olympic Track Uniform

Photo by SheThePeople
One of Nike’s newest Olympic track uniforms

On April 17, Nike, the 2024 US Olympic sponsor, released their newest design for women’s Olympic track uniforms, and it has received nothing but backlash. The newest uniforms are a unitard with a very high-cut bikini line. Many Olympic athletes have spoken out saying that these fits were “not made for performance” and prioritized “sexualization over function.” Additionally, Tara Davis-Woodhall, an Olympic long jumper posted on Instagram, “Wait my hoo haa is going to be out.” Track and field athletes should be completely focused on their events and their performance, not on how their private areas could slip out mid-race.

Nike took a stand against all this hate on social media, saying, “The unitard is not the only option [we are] offering female runners.” Nike stated that they will be providing tailors at the Olympics and claimed they were working with athletes during the process of these designs. 

Katie Moon, an Olympic pole-vaulter who is sponsored by Nike, spoke on behalf of the company, saying that women had 20 other options in terms of uniforms. She also added “because skin-baring clothing isn’t the only option offered to female athletes, calling it ‘sexist’ is ultimately attacking our decision as women to wear it.” Moon also commented saying that if the unitard was the only option for women, then it would be considered sexist. However, it is the athlete’s decision to choose which uniform she feels she will perform best in–not for the appeal of viewers.

Caroline Gorowski, Varsity Track Coach, commented on the controversy saying “The fact that they have a variety of different options that individuals can choose from feels inclusive and feels as though [athletes] can choose what works for [them].” Gorowski also stated that she “doesn’t feel it is as controversial because there’s options based on what individuals might want.” Female athletes have the autonomy to choose which of Nike’s many uniform designs work best for them, providing a sense of inclusivity.

Questions still stand about why Nike created this specific design and what athlete or event they had in mind while designing the uniform. Other thoughts include why Nike decided to go with this design that doesn’t seem as functional and athletic friendly. 

Although the unitard is impractical and not fit for Olympic performance, people should consider the fact that Nike might not have had a sexist or inappropriate motive in mind while creating it. However, athletes still have every right to be upset because in some ways, the uniform is not seen as what athletes need but might be more of what viewers–specifically the male audience–might want to see.

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