Three top British female athletes have swapped their sports gear for lingerie to try to empower young women.
Team GB windsurfer Bryony Shaw, skeet shooter Amber Hill and Paralympian long jumper Stefanie Reid are backing a campaign with lingerie company Bluebella to get girls into sport after research showed many drop out of school due to ‘body issues’.
Showing powerful bodies are beautiful, the three athletes – who are all going for gold in Rio – urged young women not to feel ashamed of being physically strong, the Mirror reports.
Bryony Shaw, a bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and current European champion, said in the video:
I would always keep my body concealed when I was growing up and especially at school because I was concerned other kids would say: ‘Oh look at her, she looks like a boy.’
At my school the cool thing for most of the girls aged 13 or 14 was to opt out of sport and they would feign some illness or a headache to get out of it.
So I was really going against the grain and I got bullied at school for trying to do well at sport . Sport was seen as something that the boys did, not the girls.
Shaw admitted that training made her biceps and forearms stronger (and consequently, bigger), so she tried to conceal them under her clothes, citing that they didn’t make her feel feminine.
Amber Hill, who posed alongside Shaw is now one of the world’s best clay pigeon shooters at just 18, and she’ll be competing in her first Olympics in Rio – with men outnumbering women 10 to one in the sport.
And in possibly one of the most sexist questions I’ve ever heard, Hill said a journalist at a press conference asked her ‘Why shooting? That’s not a very sexy sport, is it?’
While I probably would have just gave him a seriously dirty look, Hill took the high road, saying: “Well, I’ll have to make it sexy then.”
All three women are trying to empower young girls not only with their bodies but with their stories.
Stefanie Reid, a five-time world record holder became an amputee after losing the bottom part of her right leg in a boat’s propellors at 15. She said: “I hate the idea of girls not reaching their full potential in sport because they are afraid they won’t be accepted, or that it somehow makes them less feminine.”
They’re definitely campaigning for a great cause.