Slovenian ski jumping team celebrating victory
instagram | @nika.kriznar

Olympics Officials Disqualify 5 Women From Ski Jumping Event Over Their Outfits

It's rare for any year's Olympic Games to pass without at least some controversy, but over the last year, the world of international sports in general has seen an unexpected issue brought to the forefront.

And it doesn't have to do with doping or fighting, but rather the scrutiny that female athletes face for the outfits they wear while competing.

This issue first arose last July after the European Handball Federation fined a Norwegian women's team for wearing shorts rather than regulation bikini bottoms. However, it also had some relevance to that year's Summer Games in Tokyo as the German gymnastics team broke from the typically revealing leotards Olympic gymnasts are expected to wear in favor of custom outfits that made them feel more comfortable.

But while that team was allowed to compete and the European Handball Federation has since amended their regulations amid widespread backlash, it seems wardrobe issues have arisen yet again in this year's Winter Games in Beijing.

And it's true that Olympics officials have a practical reason for their current decision, but it still raised questions for the affected teams.

On February 8, the Beijing Olympics' inaugural mixed-team ski-jumping event saw five women representing Germany, Norway, Japan and Austria disqualified for wearing loose-fitting clothing.

MC Hammer and backup dancers in parachute pants
youtube | Universal Music Group/EMI

As Yahoo Sports reported, the reason for this disqualification concerned the possibility that baggier clothing could give the athletes an aerodynamic advantage by catching the wind and giving them extra loft.

But for the affected teams, this concern seemed to come out of nowhere.

Coaches and officials from both Germany and Norway maintained that any issues with skiers' outfits should have been cleared up before the games even began.

According to Insider, German coach Stefan Horngacher said, "It is just strange that they have been using the same suits yesterday and there was no problem."

Katharina Althaus of Germany also spoke out, accusing the International Ski Federation of destroying women's ski jumping.

In her words, "I have been checked so many times in 11 years of ski jumping, and I have never been disqualified once. I know my suit was compliant."

In that time, she has been to the Olympics three times and the World Championships five times.

Anna Odine Strøm of Norway also commented, blaming her diet during quarantine for her baggy clothing.

However, she nonetheless found the ruling strange as the officials' method for measurement differed from how they had conducted past events.

As she put it, "It was a bit strange and didn't conform to how it's been done in the past."

For his part, Norwegian chief of sports Clas Brede Bråthen apologized on behalf of the sport, saying, "The sport of ski jumping has experienced one of its darker days today."

These disqualifications put the event's standings in flux, but the Slovenian team that walked away with the gold maintained that they would have won regardless.

As one of the jumpers named Peter Prevc told AP News, "Even if you count all the distances and judge points from the unlucky ones on today’s competition, we should still be first so it’s still great."

Prevc can be seen here celebrating alongside Nika Kriznar, Ursa Bogata and Timi Zajc and their team finished with a total of 1,000.5 points, 100 more than their closest runner-up.

The silver medal would end up going to a team representing Russia, while the Canadian team was awarded bronze.

h/t: Insider