Olympics beach volleyball players need not bust out their bikinis -“thanks” to an International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) announcement on Tuesday that the 48 women who qualify for the London Olympics can trade-in their skimpy two-pieces for less risqué uniforms.
Due to FIVB’s new Olympics qualification process, smaller countries have improved chances to compete in the Summer Games in London. Via the recently introduced Continental Cup qualification series, women from lesser-known nations from five continental areas are now in the running for Olympic berths.
The conservative norms within certain African and Middle East countries do not mesh with FIVB’s liberal uniform rules. As a result, FIVB is now allowing females to wear shorts and sleeved tops.
“Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible,” said FIVB spokesman Richard Baker to The Associated Press.
Ever since beach volleyball was first exposed to the masses at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics, bikini-clad women ruled the courts. Believe it or not, the typically stuffy and bureaucratic FIVB organization formerly had strict rules for how small the bikini bottoms had to be!
The world’s elite players, including Misty May and Kerri Walsh, would rather compete in tight-fitting bikinis, rather than loosely hanging alternatives. Reason: Sand is less apt to creep into uncomfortable areas that prove to be a distraction to players – during play and on the sidelines.
The world’s sexiest sport is worshipped by millions of fans – especially during Olympic Games telecasts where eyes are more trained on the bodies than on the play.
These elite women players welcome any attention to their sport, and are proud to show-off their physiques.
In the beach volleyball exposé book, “Order On The Court,” Walsh stated, “Being an athlete and a woman, you work hard, you look great, you’re fit, and you’re proud of yourself.”
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