In order to respect and accommodate the cultural beliefs of various countries, women volleyball players will be given more of a choice in clothing at the London Olympics this summer. Instead of having to wear bikinis, the International Volleyball Federation has announced that women will be allowed to wear shorts and tops with sleeves. The new rule permits “shorts of a maximum length of (1.18 inches) above the knee,” so I doubt we’ll be seeing any board shorts on the beach.
“Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible.” FIVB spokesman Richard Baker told The Associated Press Tuesday. “Winners of the Continental Cups will qualify for the Olympics, so it has to be applied.”
Five Continental Cup Olympic qualifiers already had the rule in place, so it made sense to extend it to all athletes and countries. Plenty of athletes will stick to the bikini uniforms that they have become accustomed to, but the option is available.
As expected, there have already been rumblings about the change in uniform policy affecting ratings for volleyball. The reality is — whether right or wrong — there are plenty of people who tune into women’s Olympic beach volleyball to watch women in bikinis. More clothing will also mean less space for those tattoo advertisements some players have featured.