Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Women's beach volleyball players can cover up at London Olympics

Female beach volleyball players will have the option of wearing less revealing uniforms at the London Olympics this summer.

In  an attempt by the sport's governing body to respect the the cultural beliefs of various countries, the International Volleyball Federation says it will allow shorts and sleeved tops at the Olympics— in addition to bikinis and body suits.

Think male viewership will drop off?

Bikinis have been part of the player's wardrobe since beach volleyball became an Olympic medal event at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Players typically opted for body suits in chillier weather.

There will be a 24-team beach volleyball lineup in London this summer and the rule already applied to Continental Cup qualifiers for the Olympics involving 142 nations.

Federation spokesman Richard Baker tells The Associated Press that "many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible."

The modified rule permits "shorts of a maximum length of (1.18 inches) above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops."

Beach volleyball at the London Games will be played July 28-Aug. 12 in a stadium at Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace.

The sport is usually dominated by the U.S. and Brazilian teams.

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