Women boxers may be forced to wear skirts in the 2012 Olympics. Seriously.

As a friend of mine who e-mailed me this morning stated, it’s as if we’re taking two steps forward and one step back.

The 2012 Games in London will be the introduction of women’s boxing to the Olympics, but they’ll likely have to wear skirts. The BBC reports that the AIBA will meet this July in Thailand to discuss the controversial policy, which is  so backwards I’m embarrassed that we’re even having the conversation let alone forcing women like Ireland’s Katie Taylor to don the attire:

At the European Championship, Ireland’s three-time world champion Katie Taylor told BBC Sport: “I won’t be wearing a mini-skirt. I don’t even wear mini-skirts on a night out, so I definitely won’t be wearing one in the ring.”

But there has been support from some boxers, such as MC Mary Kom of India: ”The tennis players wear skirts and the badminton players are wearing skirts so why don’t the boxers wear skirts?”

Comparing boxing with tennis and badminton? Really? That defense isn’t just Kom’s, but the line held by proponents of the skirts. If the idea is to create sex appeal, well, there’s not going to be much of that when they’re donning headgear while bruising and bloodying each other up in the ring.

Boxing writer and advocate Michael Rivest shared his thoughts this morning on his Boxing in the Capital Region blog for the Times Union.  It’s not not the first time he’s brought attention to the subject. A little over a year ago he interviewed AIBA President Dr. C.K. Wu of the AIBA about the policy of forcing women to wear skirts in the ring.

“I have heard many times, people say, ‘We can’t tell the difference between the men and the women,’ especially on TV, since they’re in the same uniforms and are wearing headgear,” Dr. Wu said. But couldn’t AIBA have listened to the women’s concerns made clear months earlier, that such a uniform would be unacceptable? And if a different uniform is necessary, couldn’t it be, say, longer shorts?

I don’t know where to even begin with this one. If Wu needs help identifying men from women, I can have a sit-down talk with him and a picture book. In all seriousness, though, body types go a long way. So does the ring announcer and television commentators. Beyond that stupidity, though, if I’m watching two women fighting and they’re at a level where because of the gear and skill level I can’t differentiate them from men of equal size? Great! That means they’re doing it right.

What an absurd policy.


  • Michael Rivest

    Great points, Kevin. You’ve nailed it. We’ll see which way it goes, but geez…what an embarrassment.

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