US women’s beach volleyball team wears bikini bottoms after Norway’s team refused


Team USA’s women’s beach volleyball team donned sports bras and bikini bottoms as they hit the court on Monday for a practice session ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

While the tiny, skin-baring uniforms have been around for Olympic Games past, this year they’ve proven controversial after Norway’s team refused to wear them for the recent European Championship, claiming the revealing bikini bottoms make them feel uncomfortable and unnecessarily sexualized.

Members of Team USA, however, don’t appear to have objections to the skimpy sportswear, with team members photographed donning them for practice earlier today.

Gettin’ ready! Team USA’s women’s beach volleyball team donned bikini bottoms as they hit the court on Monday for a practice session ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo

Pictured: Norway's beach handball team is facing a fine after the players refused to wear bikini bottoms in a European Championship match, instead competing in non-regulation shorts

Pictured: Norway’s beach handball team is facing a fine after the players refused to wear bikini bottoms in a European Championship match, instead competing in non-regulation shorts

Strong! Alexandra Klinema works on her game ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo

Strong! Alexandra Klinema works on her game ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo

Uniform: Her teammate April Ross (pictured) wore the same look to practice on Monday

Uniform: Her teammate April Ross (pictured) wore the same look to practice on Monday

Teammates Alexandra Klineman, 31, and April Ross, who turns 39 tomorrow, were seen practicing on a volleyball court outside of the arena on Monday.

Both wore Team USA bikini tops and bottoms that fell inches below their navels. They certainly showed plenty of skin, but protected their faces from the sun with sunglasses and visors.

The pair have been playing together since 2018 and ranked number two in the world. Considered top contenders for medals, they already have six Federation of International Volleyball wins.

Ross also has an Olympic silver medal from 2012 and a bronze from 2016.  

Though neither seemed particularly uncomfortable in the uniform, their Norwegian counterparts have spoken out against the barely-there outfit.

Revealing: While the tiny, skin-baring uniforms have been around for Olympic Games past, this year they've proven controversial after Norway's team refused to wear them for the recent European Championship

Revealing: While the tiny, skin-baring uniforms have been around for Olympic Games past, this year they’ve proven controversial after Norway’s team refused to wear them for the recent European Championship

At the European Beach Handball Championship in Varna, Bulgaria on Sunday, the teammates donned not bikini bottoms but tight shorts as they faced off against Spain.

In doing so, they risked a fine of 50 euros per player per match, according to Norway’s Katinka Haltvik, quoted by public broadcaster NRK.

Ahead of the European Championship, Norway approached the European Handball Federation to ask for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines.

The team decided to go ahead with the shorts anyway, and Norwegian Handball Federation president Kare Geir Lio told AFP said that it was prepared to pay the fines for the players.

‘The most important thing is to have equipment that athletes are comfortable with,’ Lio said, adding that ‘it should be a free choice within a standardized framework.’ 

The issue has been debated in beach sports circles for several years as some players find the bikini degrading or simply impractical.

The Norwegian beach volleyball players said they found the bikini bottoms too revealing, with the uniform making them feel unnecessarily sexualized  and especially  uncomfortable when they have their periods.

But rules at the tournament banned shorts, though male players are expected to wear them.

In trouble: By ditching the regulation bikini bottoms, the Norwegian women's team (pictured in 2017 wearing bikini bottoms) risked a fine of 50 euros per player per match

In trouble: By ditching the regulation bikini bottoms, the Norwegian women’s team (pictured in 2017 wearing bikini bottoms) risked a fine of 50 euros per player per match

Norway's beach handball team compete in 2017 in regulation clothing. The issue has been debated in beach sports circles for several years as some players find the bikini degrading or simply impractical

Norway’s beach handball team compete in 2017 in regulation clothing. The issue has been debated in beach sports circles for several years as some players find the bikini degrading or simply impractical

The rules governing uniforms at the Olympics, however, are a bit different, and allow for players to cover up more should they choose to.

Women’s tops ‘must fit closely to the body and the design must be with deep cutaway armholes on the back, upper chest and stomach (2-piece), respecting the space required for the manufacturer logo, athlete number, country flag/country code, and the place for the athlete’s name.’

For the bottoms, they can wear briefs that should ‘be a close fit and be cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg’ — or they can also wear a closely-fitting one-piece ‘with open back and upper chest, respecting the space for the required inscriptions to be made.’

However, women may also choose to wear shorts that ‘feature total length of 26-28 cm (from waistband) and 26 cm above the knee, and a waistband of 6-7 cm wide.’

They can also wear a half-sleeve top or knee-length pants, the bottoms of which are ‘ recommended to feature total length of 47 cm (from waistband) and 3 cm above the knee, and a waistband of 6-7 cm wide.’

The rules previously required bikinis only, but were changed to be more culturally inclusive. That year, Egypt’s team played in long-sleeve shirts and pants.



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