German Gymnast Sarah Voss Explains Decision to Compete Wearing Full Bodysuit

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 23, 2021

Germany's Sarah Voss competes in the Women's beam qualifications during European Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the St Jakobshalle, in Basel, on April 21, 2021. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

German gymnast Sarah Voss said Friday she decided with her teammates, Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui, to compete in nontraditional full bodysuits during the 2021 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships this week in Switzerland.

Voss, 21, explained to German broadcaster ZDF (via the BBC) she became "increasingly uncomfortable" wearing a standard gymnastics outfit as she grew older.

"We women all want to feel good in our skin," Voss said. "In the sport of gymnastics it gets harder and harder as you grow out of your child's body. As a little girl I didn't see the tight gym outfits as such a big deal. But when puberty began, when my period came, I began feeling increasingly uncomfortable."

She added: "We hope gymnasts uncomfortable in the usual outfits will feel emboldened to follow our example."

The German Gymnastics Federation said its athletes are taking a stand against "sexualization in gymnastics."

International Gymnastics Federation guidelines allow for a "one-piece leotard with full-length legs—hip to ankle" as long as it maintains an "elegant design," according to the BBC.

Voss has competed for Germany since 2015. She won the country's all-around national title in 2019 after taking first place in both the vault and the balance beam. She finished seventh on the beam at the 2019 World Championships.

She's a contender to represent Germany at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo later this year.