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Bikinis Will Be Optional For Volleyball Players At The Uk Olympics

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Don't get too excited, fellas.

By Telegraph staff and agencies

2:55PM BST 27 Mar 2012

The International Volleyball Federation says it will allow shorts and sleeved tops at the Olympics, in addition to bikinis and body suits.

The rule already applied to Continental Cup qualifiers for the Olympics involving 142 nations.

Federation spokesman Richard Baker said 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 three centimeters (1.18 inches) above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops".

Bikinis have helped define women's beach volleyball, which became an Olympic medal event at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Players have typically opted to wear body suits only in cold weather.

"Up until now, athletes had the choice. They weren't forced to wear a bikini," Baker said.

FIVB rules on bikinis allow for "a maximum side width of seven centimeters (2.76 inches)."

Changes to the qualification format for the 24-team women's line-up in London also brought cultural sensitivities into focus by encouraging more nations to compete.

Four years ago, qualification was based almost entirely on world rankings earned by competing in at least eight elite-level events.

The Continental Cup competitions, which began in July 2010, now offer direct routes to the Olympics.

The women's Olympic beach volleyball tournament will be played July 28-Aug. 12 in a specially created stadium at Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace.

Shorts and sleeved tops are also now allowed in matches on the season-long World Tour circuit, which is dominated by players from Brazil, the United States and Europe.

"We don't think we will see much change (in uniforms) on the World Tour," Baker said.

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