During the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Basel, Switzerland this week, Sarah Voss, a gymnast from Germany, defied convention and competed in a full bodysuit instead of a leotard to take a stand against sexualization in gymnastics.
Although the international gymnastics federation (FIG) allows competitors to wear a “one-piece leotard with full-length legs – hip to ankle” as long as it has an elegant design, most women gymnasts have only covered their legs in international competitions for religious reasons, according to the BBC.
Voss said she hopes her actions, which was supported by Germany’s gymnastics federation, will help gymnasts who feel uncomfortable in the usual outfits to “feel emboldened to follow our example.”
The German federation said that the issue of sexualization in gymnastics had become more important to prevent sexual abuse in the industry.
“Our girls want to be role models for young gymnasts and show them how they can present themselves differently without feeling uncomfortable about certain elements,” the team said in a statement shared on the European Gymnastics account.
Voss also shared a post on her Instagram account saying that she was “immensely proud” of her decision and that it “felt good while still looking elegant.”
Her actions has been widely praised.