Colombia’s female cycling team is causing quite a stir at a tournament in Switzerland, where they debuted flesh-colored outfits that give the appearance that their torsos and groin area are nude. International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson has called the uniforms “unacceptable” and has launched an investigation.
According to the BBC, which has censored the groin area of the uniform, Cookson described the uniforms, worn by Colombian cycling team Bogotá Humana, as “unacceptable by any standard of decency” and promised to investigate the matter further. The controversy arose largely out of social media, where observers reacted with ridicule to the uniform’s design:
Have you seen the new ladies cycling kit for Team Colombia? That flesh coloured mid section is not really working. pic.twitter.com/lG2TODdmd5
— KC (@kcredfm) September 14, 2014
— Road Cycling (@handpicked_RC) September 16, 2014
The Colombia women’s cycling team uniform is vaguely reminiscent of Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. pic.twitter.com/VkpcSltXSN
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) September 16, 2014
??????umm can anyone spot what’s wrong with the new cycling uniforms for Colombia pic.twitter.com/rN5jnwpxJl
— Cleatsandcleavage (@Cleatscleavage) September 14, 2014
The ridicule in large part came accompanied by a defense of the players, suggesting that such a uniform is sexist, as it objectifies the athletes, and over-sexualization of Latin American women remains a pervasive problem in mainstream Western culture. Contrary to such protests, however, the BBC notes that reports in Colombia say the uniform was designed by one of the women on the team–not an outsider attempting to objectify them–and that they had been used for several months before the controversy arose. Infobae confirms the the uniforms were designed by athlete Angie Tatiana Rojas and “approved by her teammates, sponsors,” and the local sports sanctioning body.
In a statement responding to the controversy, the League of Cycling of Bogotá staunchly defender their team, attacking those who would ridicule the uniforms. President Carlos Orlando Ferreira Pinzón writes that he “laments the controversy… the disrespect and the ridicule.” The statement nonetheless notes the team “did not consult us over their [uniform] design,” but concludes, “we support the team on their journey.”
The Colombian team representing the nation’s capital is currently competing in a race in Tuscany, Italy.
Photo Credit: Twitter/@ Ultimo_km1