When Paralympic athlete Olivia Breen finished her long jump competition at the English Championships over the weekend, she should've been pretty psyched. But she said an unwelcome comment from a female official put a damper on the exciting moment.
In a Twitter post, the 24-year-old said that an England Athletic official called her sprint briefs "too short and inappropriate."
The British athlete, who has cerebral palsy, will be competing at the Tokyo Paralympics next month and was hoping to wear the same briefs during the summer games.
“I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in,” she wrote.
Breen, who told the Guardian that she was wearing official Adidas briefs during the competition, also said she wonders whether male athletes would have been similarly criticized.
"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," she wrote.
The athlete told CNN that she was particularly hurt to hear another woman criticize her uniform.
"You have no right to say what I can and can't wear," she said.
Breen also explained why the design of her briefs are particularly helpful during competitions.
"When you are competing, you want to feel as light as possible to make you perform better," she said.
Since she went public with her story, Breen has received an outpouring of support from her fans and shared a post on Instagram Monday to express her gratitude
"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," she shared.
In her interview with CNN, Breen revealed that she has been in touch with a representative from England Athletics and said they have been "very supportive." TMRW reached out to the organization for comment and a spokesperson shared the following statement:
“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,” they wrote in an email.