"Respect the Game" Sport's Raunchiest Outfits

Words by Ellen Apswoude
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There are few athletes more famous and accomplished than Serena Williams. She draws massive crowds, has won endless titles, and has an undeniable charm and tenacity.
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On top of all of this, Williams is a new mum. And her beautiful daughter Alexis Olympia didn’t come easy. The tennis player had a strained pregnancy and labour which she almost didn’t survive. Williams has frequently had problems with dangerous blood clots, and this is part of the reason she recently donned what has been dubbed her ‘Catsuit’ at the French Open.
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Serena Williams wears Catsuit at 2018 French Open
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The catsuit is a simple and sophisticated body suit, designed with compression and blood clots in mind. Despite the health benefits, and subdued style of the garment, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli was not a fan. In a vague and nonsensical statement, Giudicelli said “The combination of Serena this year, for example, it will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place”. The implication here is that Williams’ potentially life-saving Catsuit is somehow disrespectful to the game of tennis. I myself was unaware that Tennis, as a game, had feelings or any kind of sentient notion of respect prior to this story. But for whatever reason, Tennis has spoken up, and finds Serena Williams, holder of 23 major singles titles, disrespectful.
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Serena Williams is an athlete, a mother, and a warrior. Few athletes have dealt with more public scrutiny and ridicule than Serena, and her sister, Venus Williams. Both of whom have been subject to racist and sexist vitriol since they burst onto the scene as young tennis phenoms.
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While no one could be expected to bear the burden of the world’s eyes, and hatred, the Williams sisters have done it for years, with more grace than their critics deserve. So, to celebrate the incomparable Serena Williams, and her now world famous Catsuit, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite disrespectfully raunchy sporting outfits to show Giudicelli, and ‘Tennis’ exactly where they can stick their ‘respect for the game’.
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Michelle Jenneke

Our first contender today is Australia’s own Michelle Jenneke, who broke hearts, and TV screens during 2012’s Barcelona Olympics with her mesmerising warm-up dance.
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The Australian athlete’s warm-up quickly went viral and is often accompanied by music in online videos. While she’s essentially wearing a bra and undies, what we love about this video is Jenneke’s infectious smile, and bubbling excitement. While her body may be objectified by viewers, to Jenneke in this moment, it’s a tool to carry her to Olympic glory. She looks powerful, sexy, joyous, and strong, all at once.
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Katarina Witt

Katarina Witt 1988 Winter Olympic Games
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When your outfit is so scandalous, they name a dress code rule after you, you know you’ve achieved something great. Katarina Witt achieved just that, after she wore a figure skating outfit that was so high on the hips, it birthed the ‘Katarina Rule’. The rule stated “a skirt covering hips and posterior was required for ladies' competition”. While the particular inclusion of the term ‘skirt’ was removed in 2003, the rule was in full effect from 1988, after Witt stepped out on the ice in her scandalous blue number at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
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Karol Fageros

Karol Fageros Gold Shorts 1958 Wimbledon
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Karol Fageros goes to show that women were raising hell and making their mark long before the internet was around to comment on it. In 1958, Fageros was banned by Wimbledon officials for wearing gold undies under her tennis whites. She was eventually reinstated after agreeing to cover the gold knickers with a modest white lace, but those eye-catching gold underwear were still there in spirit.
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Egypt and Germany’s Beach Volleyball Teams

There has often been controversy around the attire of beach volleyball players. The men typically wear a sleeveless shirt, and shorts, while the women wear less. Much less. The bikini is a staple of beach volleyball on all levels, Olympics included. The controversy typically comes from what seems to be a double-standard. The men are reasonably clothed while the women seem forced to bare all.
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Prior to 2012, women were required to wear bikinis and nothing else. But in an aim to be more inclusive, the rules were updated to allow a variety of combinations. That being said, some women, like team Germany, still opt for the bikinis, while others, like the Egyptian team, prefer a more modest option. Both can be seen below.
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Egypt versus Germany 2016 Barcelona Olympics Beach Volleyball
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This item hasn’t made our list simply because of the German team in their bikinis. We’re including Egypt in our pick for dangerous and confident attire, too.
What we love about this photo is the gutsy confidence of both women, who have chosen outfits that may be controversial to the other, but make themselves feel strong and fierce.  
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If there’s anything we’ve learned from Serena Williams and her Catsuit, it’s that regardless of your skill, and accomplishments, someone’s always going to have something to say about your outfit. So, whether your pushing boundaries, making new rules (looking at you, Katarina), or covering up, when everyone else is stripping off, make sure you’re doing it for you, and make sure you’re doing it dangerously.

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