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The teensy women’s beach volleyball uniforms are ratings boosters – and preposterous sand traps.

So we’re watching the Olympics Saturday night and women’s beach volleyball is on. Team USA was playing the Aussies and because it was cold (60 degrees) in London and they were playing in the evening, the regulation bikini uniform was nowhere to be found. Well, not exactly — Team Australia was covered from head to near toe. Team USA had long-sleeve shirts, but donned the itsy-bitsy hipster/bikini Nike bottoms (the designers managed to place the brand’s “swish” on the right hip).

Kate and I were laughing out loud at how preposterous these bikini bottoms are. Nothing is worse than having to pick sand out of your booty; how can these uniforms be functional in any way other than to raise NBC’s T&A factor? After all, diving to save a ball and hitting the beach looks like it will result in a pound of sand going into your hoo-hah.

There was an interview with Aussie five-time Olympian Natalie Cook (who is an out lesbian), where she addresses the issue of the dress standard for beach volleyball:

Despite the international volleyball federation easing the dress standard – it was previously compulsory for female beach volleyballers to wear a bikini or full-bodysuit in international competition – Cook has remained a staunch advocate of the two-piece.

However, after arriving at the team outfitting centre in east London, she said the Australians would be covering up in anticipation of cool late-evening conditions and, possibly, rain at the venue near Buckingham Palace.

”We’re in there now trying on our long tights,” the Sydney gold medallist said. ”Then we put our uniform on over the top, so we kind of look like Superman with our undies on the outside. It won’t be too good, but it’s much better than playing cold because you’ve got to be able to focus.

It was about 60 degrees last night so they went with the bikini top over a long-sleeved shirt and shorts.  What I found hilarious is Cook’s defense of the bikini as a functional plus:

”The bikini is the best practical application for our sport in most conditions. We play in 45-degree heat in Brazil,” the 37-year-old said. ”Even the bikini is too much in that heat.”

I’ll agree that the compulsory bikini allows for more freedom of movement, but how is picking at your bum and emptying sand from your plumber’s crack not a functional minus? I saw the American athletes doing some “booty adjustments” during the match.

Anyway, if that line of reasoning is going to fly, then why aren’t the all of the Olympic beach volleyball male athletes in teensy Speedos? Surely that would boost the ratings with the het females out there (and gay men) for NBC.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding