Team USA Backs Norwegian Women's Beach Handball Team Amid Bikini Bottom Protest
Norway's women's beach handball team was fined earlier this month after players donned spandex athletic shorts, rather than the approved bikini bottoms, in protest of uniform regulations deemed sexist. Despite the fine, the team's protest appeared to make an impact, as the European Handball Federation has signaled new changes to said regulations.
Lisa Dunn, head coach of the US women's beach handball team, has thrown her support behind Norway's team following their controversial bikini bottom protest during the bronze medal game against Spain on July 18.
"The strict rule on women's uniforms has been a well-known issue in the beach handball community for years and many teams have voiced their discomfort and upset about these outdated regulations the IHF set for female athlete's uniforms," Dunn told Newsweek, arguing that it took "courage and willingness" for the team to openly protest the uniform regulations and accept the fine.
A fine of €150 ($178) was imposed on each player who competed in the Beach Handball EURO 2021 match, totaling €1500 ($1775), per the European Handball Federation (EHF).
The head coach expressed that she has first-hand experience dealing with the "discomfort and sexual exploitation" of being forced to wear revealing clothes in order to compete. While longer spandex pants and shirts are approved for use, players are generally prohibited from wearing them, unless a federation official confirms the temperature calls for them.
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Dunn said the skimpy uniform regulations "definitely impacted how the women teams warm up and potentially play because it would put us in an even more exposing position."
Support from Dunn and Team USA comes just a day after the EHF announced that it donated funds from the Norway team's "breach of clothing regulations" fine to an unnamed "major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports."
EHF President Michael Wiederer clarified that it was solely the Norwegian Handball Federation, not the players, that was fined.
The EHF president also claimed the governing body intends to uphold its pledge to "ensure that a change of athlete uniform regulations can be implemented."
However, the federation's words have yet to be put into writing.