The shaving protocol of female gymnasts

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American gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, and Alexandra Raisman on Aug. 7, 2016.
American gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, and Alexandra Raisman on Aug. 7, 2016. Photo credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
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With the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium wrapping up, we couldn’t but wonder the shaving protocol of female gymnasts regarding pubic hair.

As photos show, the female gymnasts aren’t allowed to wear shorts but rather be clad in a leotard and often there’s concern of pubic hair sticking out.

Judges at the Olympics score also on the gymnasts’ nails and the way they wear their hair. Also considered are piercings, makeup to manicures. Points can be deducted if any of the rules are broken. The provision by the National Women’s Program Committee explains why you see a fair share of buns and ponytails on the beam.

Simone Biles medal haul at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium
Simone Biles medal haul at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium

Regarding jewellery, athletes are allowed to wear a stud in each ear but “all other piercing should be removed, not just covered with tape or Band-Aids.”

Flashy nails that could distract the judges from the routine being performed are not allowed.

On the substantive issue of the shaving protocol of female gymnasts, body hair appears to be a no-no at the Olympics. A comment in the rulebook about gymnasts needing to be “well-groomed” may pertain to waxing and shaving.

Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez. Part of the US women team that competed in Rio and won gold.
Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez. Part of the US women team that competed in Rio and won gold.

Here’s a concern a gymnast shared anonymously via thestudentroom.co.uk on the shaving protocol of female gymnasts.

“I do gymnastics and have lots of competitions coming up in the next few weeks/months where I have to compete in just a leotard, no shorts are allowed. When I shave down there, I often goes red and a bit spotty. I’m not sure if this is due to ingrown hairs or just shaving rash. Obviously, this is not a good look in just a leotard. I use a men’s razor as I think these are generally better. How can I get rid of the spots/redness and prevent it coming back (without stopping shaving). I don’t really want to have to buy lots of expensive shaving products either. Any suggestions please???”

Simone Biles, the gymnast with the most World medals (30) had to observe shaving protocol of female gymnasts.

A reader anonymously offered a solution:

“I had the same issue when I did ballet – I started using Gillette satin care sensitive skin shave gel which worked for me. I have also heard that non-scented moisturiser is good but I personally haven’t tried it 🙂 Good luck!!”

Another read: “After you shave use baby powder to stop it from hurting and use Simple face wash to moisturise it. also if its a lot try one of those special shavers men have with a female shaving cream it helps a lot.”

Here’s another entry: “I love gymnastics, and like you I go to a club that doesn’t let girls wear shorts over their leos. Also I run, and for that we have to wear bikini-style racing briefs. So I know where you’re coming from.”

And then, “You could get an epilator. Use that once a week and follow up with tea tree oil. You’ll never have hair, stubble or a rash down there ever again!”

US women gymnasts in one of their celebrated leotards while observing the shaving protocol of female gymnasts.
US women gymnasts in one of their celebrated leotards while observing the shaving protocol of female gymnasts.

There you have it. Regarding the shaving protocol of female gymnasts, it appears they have to consider shaving or waxing their pubic hair ahead of competitions to avoid hair sticking out of their leotards with cameras zooming in. As this can distract the gymnast psychologically as well as affect the judges scoring.

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