Several gymnasts in New Zealand have spoken up about feeling vulnerable and exposed because of the archaic dress code rules that still exist in the sport, specifically around leotards. Among the alleged abusive practices linked to the requirement to wear leotards that "must not delineate more than 2cm below the buttocks" are body shaming and period shaming. Several athletes have withdrawn from competitions because of the expectation on them to wear a leotard, particularly during menstruation. Concerns around leotards are understood to be a key theme of feedback that has been received as part of an independent review into the culture of gymnastics in New Zealand. That investigation was launched after Stuff 's own investigation uncovered widespread allegations of psychological and verbal abuse , body shaming and athletes being forced to perform on serious injuries . The leotard – a tight-fitting, often embellished one-piece garment that covers the shoulders to crotch – has been used as a mechanism of control, intimidation, violence and period shaming in gymnastics, according to athletes and leading academics, in NZ and globally. It is said to create a power imbalance between coaches and vulnerable athletes, which has contributed to the alleged abusive practices in the… Read full this story
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