Freshly crowned with the championship title in the D series, this Italian volleyball team decided to take a picture to celebrate this beautiful victory in an original way.
USD Altair Vicenza were deserving throughout the competition, they even excelled so much that they got the title. Delighted to win on the national stage, the players decided to immortalise their victory in the locker room, with a little less clothing.
A snapshot that traveled around Italy
Wearing nothing but their bras and their volleyballs to cover their private parts, the athletes obviously caused a stir. Unsurprisingly, the picture spread across the web within just a few hours.
Sexiness VS performance?
The "buzz" that was sparked by their picture led to volleyball making the headlines of Italian newspapers. Was this a 'feminist photo'? Was it a 'sexy' or a 'sexist' pose? Much ink has been spilled, in Italian papers as well in the comments left under the post that was shared by the club on Facebook. The players were judged, but not for their performance. They caused a sensation and got noticed, not for their beautiful victory, but for the way they chose to celebrate it.
A fierce debate
While this picture is still being debated today, that may be because it poses two questions: does a female athlete need to undress to make herself known and be recognised? And the other question it raises: why are women's bodies - and what they choose to do with them - still subjects of debate?
Either way, people were very quick to react: while some Internet users quickly took the defense of the players and their freedom to do as they wish with their bodies, others strongly criticized the approach, which some have considered 'sexist' and 'degrading'. Some even attacked the players directly, making very violent remarks.
Very quickly, the club also intervened to defend its champions and refocus the debate: what matters and should be the main focus isn't how the volleyball players are (un-)dressed, but rather their victory and their remarkable performance.
Take a look at the video above to see the photo that started it all...