Bikinis In Women’s Volleyball No Longer Mandatory

A new rule change in the upcoming Summer Olympics has bikinis on the hot seat.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

To those of you who enjoy watching women in bikini's throwing themselves around on sand banging away at a volleyball on your TV during the Summer Olympics, I have the following sad news to report. Women’s volleyball will not make it's participants wear bikinis at the 2012 London Olympics.

Yes, that's right, one of the main appeals to Summer Olympics have been irrevocably altered in order to allow a more competitive balance throughout the world. The new rule states that starting with the upcoming summer games, competitors now can wear uniforms that include shorts and sleeved tops. And in the case of a cold day, they are also permitted to wear bodysuits.

"Shorts of a maximum length of [1.18 inches] above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops," will now be allowed, according to the new IOC ruling.

This new rule breaks away from the bikini-only tradition it had adopted since the sport was introduced at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The major function of this change is to try to create more parity in the sport that has been dominated mainly by the United States, Europe and Brazil. The main reason these countries are so dominant being that many other countries have strict cultural beliefs on the modesty of their women.

It is believed that this change will allow those countries to be more active in the event, creating a wider field of competitive play.

As reported by the Associated Press, the field at London's beach volleyball competition won't be dictated by world rankings, as in Olympics past. Qualifying tournaments on various continents will fill the 24-team draw.