New women's uniforms aim to cut 'perve factor'
Olympians show off their uniforms
It was a sea of green and gold as Australian athletes hit the catwalk to present their Olympic 2012 uniforms for the London Games.
As they fight for more exposure, female Olympians worldwide will be more covered up at this year's London games.
Or, in the case of Australia's Opals basketballers - who since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 have been lobbying for uniforms that decrease, rather than encourage, the perve factor - they will ditch the skin-tight bodysuits that left little to the imagination for looser attire.
Aesthetically, there was nothing particularly radical about the green and gold-coloured Australian Olympic team uniforms unveiled in Sydney yesterday. However, closer inspection of the numerous varieties of shorts, singlets and suits that will be worn by more than 800 athletes and officials - produced by team sponsor adidas - revealed political statements in some new combinations.
Past and Present: Australian Olympic Team Outfits
Australian athletes unveil the opening ceremony uniform in Sydney. Photo: Steve Christo
When the Opals hit the basketball courts in London, hoping to improve on the silver medal they won at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, they will look much more like their male counterparts. Gone are the figure-hugging one-piece suits that, for some spectators, enhanced the pleasure of watching Australia's best basketballers. Replacing them will be a far more traditional uniform - worn in the major leagues worldwide and in Australia's Women's National Basketball League - of shorts and singlets.
''The players have been lobbying for a while to change and we're really happy now that we've got the new uniforms,'' Olympics hopeful Jenna O'Hea, a player for the Los Angeles Sparks in America's WNBA and the Dandenong Rangers in Australia's WNBL, said yesterday.
''It's a lot more comfortable with lots of room to move and we really enjoy playing in it.''
Before and after ... Basketballers Hollie Grima (left, in Beijing, 2008) and Jenna O'Hea show the evolution of the Opals' kit. Photo: Getty Images
Coincidentally, the Australian team's uniform was launched on the same day the International Volleyball Federation detailed new rules for female beach volleyballers, who are no longer required to compete in the skimpy bikinis that announced the sport's Olympic debut in Atlanta, in 1996, with a bang.
Australia's Natalie Cook, a gold medallist at the Sydney Olympics, said yesterday she had no intention of exchanging her bikini for a more modest pair of shorts unless the weather was cold. World champion hurdler Sally Pearson was enthusiastic about how her new athletics uniform ''feels like your skin, so it's kind of like you are naked''.
Pearson's shoes, among the 80,000 items adidas will provide Australia's Olympic team, weigh less than 200 grams.