The suits the team wore in qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday cover the legs to the ankles and contrast with the high-cut jerseys that many other gymnasts wear to the Olympics.
“It’s about what feels comfortable,” said the German gymnast Elisabeth Seitz. “We wanted to show that every woman, everyone should decide for themselves what to wear.”
The team also wore the Unitards during their podium training at the Ariake Gymnastics Center on Thursday after making their debut at the European Championships in Basel, Switzerland in April.
The outfits are a statement against “sexualization in gymnastics,” said the German Gymnastics Association in April, adding: “The aim is to present yourself aesthetically – without feeling uncomfortable.”
According to the International Gymnastics Federation, the umbrella organization for competitive gymnastics, gymnastics clothing with full or half sleeves and leg covers are allowed in competition, as long as the color matches the jersey.
Seitz said other athletes have responded positively to the Unitards and that she hoped others would feel free to wear the garment of their choice in the future.
“Most of them were positive. But after the European Championships, the time was far too short for others to design a full suit. Maybe in the future. We hope so, ”said Seitz.
The team said it had made a decision to wear the Unitards as a group to the Olympics and was supported by its coaches.
“We girls had a huge impact on it,” said gymnast Sarah Voss. “The coaches were also very interested. They said they want us to feel so safe and comfortable in any case. You just feel better and more comfortable.”
Seitz emphasized that wearing the unitard was a matter of choice and comfort.
“We have decided that this is the most comfortable jersey for today,” said Seitz after the podium training on Thursday. “That doesn’t mean we don’t want to wear the normal jersey anymore. It’s a decision that is based on how we feel and what we want every day. On race day we decide what to wear.”
CNN’s Claudia Otto and Nina Avramova contributed to the coverage.