I am not a big sports fan. I like to watch tennis because I played it as a kid, but other than that I don’t think I could care less about professional sports, much less college teams. However, there is one major exception—the Olympics! I can’t get enough of them. Every two years, I get really excited and really patriotic and basically don’t leave the house for the two weeks that the games air on TV. This year, though, I’ve been unintentionally looking at them through the lens of a boob blogger. And there are some very confounding sights…

First off, this year the Olympic regulations changed so that female beach volleyball players are permitted to wear shorts and sleeved shirts instead of the previously required swimsuits (it’s about time! What a stupid, sexist rule). But the results are a bit strange. Some athletes decided to wear shirts…with sports bras on top! What??

Here are Australia’s Nat Cook and the Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova, both sporting the bra-over-shirt look:

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images Europe, courtesy Zimbio.com.

And here’s Nat Cook again, this time in just the sports bra, but an Austrian player (sorry I don’t know her name) with a bra over her shirt:

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images Europe, courtesy nbcolympics.com.

Now I know some of these matches have been played in mid-fifties (Fahrenheit) weather, which is too cold for just a bikini top. But why are the players wearing their sleeved shirts under their bikinis? American stars Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor have been wearing long sleeves too, but they wear the shirts on top. Wouldn’t wearing a bra over a shirt make your chest extra hot and sweaty? I’m so confused. At least it looks like they’re all wearing the right band size—no riding up in the back!

Next up are the bizarre swimsuits that female swimmers wear. There is so much side boob! Check out American Dana Vollmer:

Photo by Matt Slocum/Associated Press, courtesy nbcolympics.com.

You can even see side boob on the side not facing the camera! And I keep seeing the swimmers yanking the edges of the suit out to the sides when they’re standing at the starting block. I’m assuming they need a lot of freedom to move their arms, and a suit with higher armholes could be constricting…maybe?

However, this article from NASA says compression “helps the swimmers maintain the best form possible and enables them to swim longer and faster since they are using less energy to maintain form. The compression alone improves efficiency up to 5 percent, according to the manufacturer” (italics mine). So my assumption would actually be incorrect. More coverage is actually ideal, because that means more opportunity for compression.

So what is the deal with the excessive exposed side boob? Is it just that these swimmers have such broad shoulders that the suits don’t match up with their body width? But I would think the suits Olympians wear would be designed specifically for their bodies, not for the body of a casual swimmer.

Are there any volleyball players or swimmers out there who can shed some light on these odd wardrobe choices?