Francis believes choice to wear full-body suit empowers female gymnasts

By Sports Desk April 27, 2021

 Jamaica gymnast Danusia Francis believes the option of allowing full-length bodysuits to be worn in competition will empower the sport’s female athletes.

Last week, German gymnast Sarah Voss grabbed headlines after wearing a full-body suit at the European Gymnastic Championships.  She was later joined in wearing the type of outfit at the event by two teammates.  Voss described a part of the motive as taking a stand against ‘sexualisation in gymnastics’ an issue that has come to the fore in recent years following the conviction of former USA national team doctor, Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 175 years in prison for several counts of sexual abuse two years ago.

Typically, female athletes compete in leotards, however, the international gymnastics federation (FIG) rules state that competitors are allowed to wear a "one-piece leotard with full-length legs - hip to ankle", provided it is of elegant design.

Francis admitted that she did not know the uniforms were allowed but was pleased with the choice that is offered.

 "I think it's amazing," Francis told BBC.

"I feel empowered that we've got this option where we can choose to cover up," she added.

Francis also believes the ability of female athletes to speak out on issues that affect them is in part due to people staying in the sport for longer.

"I think as people are staying the sport longer, obviously they're not young girls and they've got voices, they are women, so to see them making a statement, and on an international stage... I think it was great to see," Francis said.

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