I have been more than a little conflicted lately about the opportunity to watch women's beach volleyball at the Olympics.
I used to be a middle-of-the-road amateur volleyball player. The skill and strategy that goes into the sport is fantastic. So now I really enjoy watching the sport. The Olympics are a fantastic opportunity to watch some of the world's premier volleyball players on both sand and wood courts.
The problem comes in when you consider the uniform requirements for the young women playing beach volleyball. They don't leave a lot to the imagination.
The women wear a "tankini"-style top, which is part tank top, part bikini top, with briefs, or a one-piece uniform. The two-piece women's top must be designed with deep, cutaway armholes on the stomach, back and upper chest. The briefs should be cut toward the leg on an upward angle. The maximum side width allowed is 7 cm. The one-piece must consist of an open back and upper chest. Players from the same team must wear uniforms that are identical.
Upper body wear for both men and women in Olympic beach volleyball must fit closely to the body. The men's shorts should not be a baggy fit and have to be a minimum of 15 cm higher than the kneecap.
I don't mind the view. It is the lack of choice that bothers me. It is almost as if they are telling the great athletes that they can only compete if they are willing to show off a little skin.
That perspective seems to be supported when you consider how news reports might look different if the accompanying photos were similar to those shot for women's beach volleyball.