Olympic long jump star Tara Davis-Woodall
Olympic long jump star Tara Davis-Woodall is not happy with Nike's Olympic designs. Courtesy of Andres Kudacki/Getty

The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris is causing great anticipation and excitement, not just for the sport, but also the fashion — the spotlight has been firmly positioned on the uniform designs of each country. The French unveiled theirs which were designed by the French house Berluti and have garnered mixed reviews. Closer to home, Nike has given the world a glimpse of their designs for the new track and field uniforms for Team USA athletes. And to say they've been met with mixed reviews is a massive understatement. The skimpy high-cut design of the women's uniforms has prompted a major backlash for the company and left the rest of us questioning the notion of the oversexualization of women. Welcome to "Nikegate."

Before runners like Sha'Carri Richardson could even try on the red, white, and blue uniforms, images of mannequins wearing them showcased a controversial French-cut unitard posted on Instagram. This prompted Olympian Queen Harrison Claye to comment, "Hi @europeanwax would you like to sponsor Team USA for the upcoming Olympic Games? Please and thanks." The comment clearly referencing the grooming brand renowned for their Brazilian bikini waxes.

Other athletes including long jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall also expressed their disdain. "Wait my hoo haa is gonna be out," she commented, while paralympic runner Jaleen Roberts added, "This mannequin is standing still and everything's showing... imagine MID FLIGHT."

In an exclusive interview with People, Nike was swift to explain and defend its designs. "I think it's really important that everybody understands that we offer a spectrum of styles for what athletes will feel most comfortable in, from least coverage all the way to very full coverage and that everybody gets to choose what they want to wear," said Jordana Katcher, Nike's vice president for global sports apparel.

Nike Team USA merchandise and uniforms are shown at the Team USA Media Summit in New York City. Courtesy of Dustin Satloff/Getty Images for the USOPC

However, not everyone is convinced. Weighing in on the issue, retired track star Lauren Fleshman echoes this notion that women in sports should not be sexualized, even alluding to the patriarchal mindset. "Women's kits should be in service to performance, mentally and physically. If this outfit was truly beneficial to physical performance, men would wear it," she states. "This is a costume born of patriarchal forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get eyes on women's sports."

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