Nike Receives Heated Backlash from U.S. Olympic Athletes Over Skimpy Female Uniforms

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Apr 20, 2024

Nike has received considerable backlash from female US athletes and the public after unveiling its new uniform for Olympic track and field competitors. 

Many female athletes voiced their concerns on the “skimpiness” of the new track gear, whereas one olympian went as far as to claim, “My hoo haa is gonna be out.” 

The Paris Games 2024

This year’s Olympic Games in Paris, France, are just around the corner, and final preparations are underway to ensure the event runs smoothly and the athletes are taken care of.

A depiction of the logo for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris

Source: Wikimedia

One of the most important tasks is ensuring the athletes have comfortable gear that can allow them to perform at their best. Yet, the USA women’s team has been forced to call out their provider, Nike, after the unveiling of their new uniforms in April. 

Nike Comes Under Fire

The popular American sports brand has been criticized after US field and track performers claimed its hip-baring outfits are too skimpy and sexist, per The New York Post.

An image of Nike US male and female track and field athlete uniforms for Paris 2024

Source: Citiusmag/Instagram

Other women went as far as to claim that the uniforms would result in them flashing their genitals as they perform on the world’s largest athletic stage.

Sexist Uniforms

In the wake of the unveiling, Nike has been accused of sexism, with critics questioning whether female athletes were given any say in the creation of the new uniforms. 

An up-close image of the controversial uniform released by Nike

Source: Citiusmag/Instagram

When the outfits were revealed at the Nike Air event in Paris, various athletes argued Nike had decided to opt for skimpiness over function.

"My hoo haa is gonna be out"

Tara Davis-Woodhall, who performed at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, took to Instagram to share her thoughts on the new uniforms, commenting under Citius Mag’s post. 

An image of female athlete Tara Davis-Woodhall

Source: Wikimedia

The long jumper wrote, “Wait, my hoo haa is gonna be out.”

No One Would Support this Uniform, Says Former US Champ

Long-distance runner and US National champion Lauren Fleshman took to social media to express her frustration with the Olympic uniforms. 

An image of a US long-distance runner, Lauren Fleshman

Source: Oiselle/YouTube

“I’m sorry, but show me one WNBA or NWSL team who would enthusiastically support this kit.”


US Runner Argues Uniforms Deter Performance

Fleshman went on to suggest the uniforms may result in poorer performances as women have to focus attention on ensuring they don’t flash their genitals on live television. 

An image of a woman running along a beach

Source: Freepik

“This is for Olympic Track and Field. Professional athletes should be able to compete without dedicating brain space to constant pube vigilance or the mental gymnastics of having every vulnerable piece of your body on display.”


The Uniforms Do Not Benefit Physical Performance

According to Fleshman, if the uniforms really benefited performance, they would be worn by men as well as women. 

An image of a woman stretching before she begins a training session

Source: Wikimedia

“Women’s kits should be in service to performance, mentally and physically. If this outfit were truly beneficial to physical performance, men would wear it.”


Not an Athletic Kit for Field and Track

At the end of the post, the former US Champion finished by claiming the women’s uniforms are anything but elite kits for track and field athletes.

An image of a female track athlete preparing to take part in an event

Source: Wikimedia

“This is not an elite athletic kit for track and field. This is a costume born of patriarchal forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get eyes on women’s sports. Stop making it harder for half the population @nike @teamusa @usatf.”


Nike Attempts to Defend Their Design Choice

Nike’s Vice President of Apparel Innovation, Janett Nichol, tried to defend the controversial design during an interview with CBS Sports.

An image outside of a large Nike building in the middle of a city

Source: Wikimedia

According to Nichol, the Paris uniforms were tested by athletes during the creation process and will help competitors “perform at the highest level.”


Innovation Vice President Claims Athletes' Best Interests Were Considered

Nichol continued by suggesting they took data from the athletes and implemented this into the designs of the controversial uniforms. 

An image of a red-haired athlete training at the track

Source: Freepik

“On the apparel side, why it’s a game-changer for us is because we’ve now been able to take athlete insights, along with data, and use that algorithm to create something that allows us to get to a level of specificity, fidelity, and accuracy that we’ve never been able to do before,” she said. 


Nike Female Athlete Shares Her Opinion

Katie Moon, a competitive pole vaulter and Nike-sponsored athlete, said the uniform portrayed on the mannequin during the reveal was “concerning” during a post to X, formerly Twitter. 

An image of Katie Moon during an event

Source: Wikimedia

However, she went on to explain that all women are given the option of various track and field uniforms. While some opt for briefs, others go with shorts, which are much less revealing.