The high school swimmer who was disqualified over a controversial "uniform violation" has had her victory reinstated, following accusations that she had been discriminated against.
Breckynn Willis, a state champion swimmer for Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, was disqualified during an event last Friday after an official determined that her swimsuit was too revealing.
Willis's story immediately sparked outrage in the community, including from Lauren Langford, a local swim coach who called the incident an "inexcusable" case of sexism, racism and body shaming.
"All of these girls are all wearing suits that are cut the same way," Langford said in a now-viral blog post written after the meet. "And the only girl who gets disqualified is a mixed-race girl with rounder, curvier features."
But now Willis is getting her victory back. In a decision announced by the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) on Tuesday, officials determined that the 17-year-old would have the points from her win reinstated.
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The decision came just hours after the Anchorage School District announced its own investigation into the issue, which also declared Willis had been treated wrongfully.
"Our swimmer was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body," the district's investigation stated.
Willis' disqualification sparked controversy as soon as it happened. One referee attending the meet said she froze in disbelief when the official made their decision, immediately telling them "this is going to blow up."
Langford, who coached Willis and her sisters when they were younger, said she's never seen a swimmer intentionally adjust their suit to make it more revealing, adding that she believed the high schooler was being unfairly targeted.
"It comes down in my opinion to the race thing," Langford told the Anchorage Daily News. "It was so targeted. It was so intentional and so individual. She’s one of three girls on [her team] who look like her."
Langford was also quick to note that Willis was wearing suit assigned by her team and that none of her other teammates were disqualified.
In its ruling on the issue, the ASAA issued a reminder to referees that it should not assume swimmers are modifying their outfits on purpose.
"ASAA believes students are not intentionally rolling up their swimsuits in this manner," the ruling said, adding that officials are asked to "assume school uniforms are legal and will remain so."