NEW YORK, April 15 — United States track and field athletes will have multiple kit options to choose from for the Olympics, officials said yesterday, following criticism over one skimpy design for the Paris games that has been branded “sexist”.

Several women athletes have taken aim at a leotard uniform revealed by Nike as part of a launch event last week to unveil Olympic kits.

The leotard features a high-cut pantyline which has triggered a wave of criticism from US athletes past and present.

Former US national 5,000m champion Lauren Fleshman decried the design in an Instagram post, saying it was unsuitable for competition.


“Professional athletes should be able to compete without dedicating brain space to constant pube vigilance or the mental gymnastics of having every vulnerable piece of your body on display,” Fleshman wrote.

“If this outfit was truly beneficial to physical performance, men would wear it.

“This is not an elite athletic kit for track and field. This is a costume born of patriarchal forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get eyes on women’s sports. ... Stop making it harder for half the population @nike @teamusa @usatf.”


US long-jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall signalled her bemusement meanwhile in a comment under a social media post by track and field media outlet Citius which showed the designs.

“Wait my hoo haa is gonna be out,” Davis-Woodhall quipped.

Another commenter added: “I hope USATF is paying for the bikini waxes.”

United States Track and Field (USATF) said in a statement to AFP on Sunday that the outfits unveiled by Nike were two of only dozens that will be available to athletes competing in Paris.

“The Team USA track and field uniforms revealed on Thursday are only two of many options, including 50 unique pieces, that athletes will be able to choose from for the upcoming Olympic Games,” the USATF said.

US sprint star and 100m world champion Sha’Carri Richardson took part in Thursday’s Nike launch event in Paris wearing a version of the kit that included shorts.

The USATF added that athletes had also been consulted during the development of the Olympic uniforms.

“Athlete options and choices were the driving force for USATF in the planning process with Nike,” the federation said.

“USATF is also aware that Nike consulted with athletes throughout the design process to ensure that all athletes are comfortable and that the uniforms are well-suited for their respective events.”

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment. — AFP