Raisman: Altering Gymnastics Leotard Won't Stem Abuse

Paul Steinbach Headshot

Aly Raisman, the decorated Olympian who stated last year that women don't need to cover up their bodies to be respected, unsurprisingly came out this week against altering what has become the standard leotard used in gymnastics competition at all levels.

The mere suggestion that banning the formfitting gymnastics uniform might possibly stem sexual abuse in the sport prompted Raisman, who like hundreds of gymnasts was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar, to take to Twitter with her rebuttal. “Leotards [are] not the problem," Raisman tweeted Sunday, as reported by Huffington Post. "The problem is the many pedophiles out there & the adults who enable them. By saying clothing is part of the issue, [you] are victim shaming/implying survivors should feel it’s their fault.”

Raisman, who captained gold medal U.S. teams at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, in February sued USA Gymnastics for failing to take action against Nassar, whose abuse spanned two decades while working for Michigan State University and the national team.

According to a June 2016 article in Elle, subtiltled "Granny cuts to bedazzled bodysuits," the gymnastics leotards of the 1930s and '40s were loose-fitting and featured more coverage of the shoulders and buttocks. However, the evolution of the sport from mostly dancing to demanding athleticism dictated a more formfitting style that accommodates greater muscle mass and movement.

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