Organisers stripped the high school swimmer of victory in one of four races in Alaska last Friday (Sept 6) because of a “uniform violation”.
The referee who made the decision argued it was justified as she could see “butt cheek touching butt cheek”.
The ruling outraged a local coach who challenged the decision in a blog post that accused the referee of singling out the 17-year-old student because of her race and for being curvy and full-figured.
“These young swimmers aren't being punished for wearing their suits in scandalous or provocative ways, but rather, because their ample hips, full chests, and dark complexions look different than their willowy, thin, and mostly pallid teammates,” Lauren Langford wrote in her post.
She said the student stripped of victory was wearing the same suit issued to every girl on the team and yet she was the only athlete sanctioned.
“The incident… comes after more than a year of tensions over the fit of suits worn by athletes at youth swim meets in the state of Alaska,” Langford wrote.
Outrage over the decision prompted the Anchorage School District to overturn the disqualification on Tuesday following a review that found the ruling “was heavy-handed an unnecessary”.
In a statement, the district said the swimmer was “targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body”.