Bluebella has launched a new campaign with three female Team GB athletes going for gold in Rio this summer.
Windsurfer Bryony Shaw, skeet shooter Amber Hill and Paralympian long jumper Stefanie Reid teamed up with the lingerie brand to celebrate female empowerment through sport.
The BeStrongBeautiful campaign was launched in reaction to a recent study carried out on 1,500 pupils by the Institute of Sport at Loughborough University.
It found that more than half of secondary school girls drop out of sport after the age of 13 due to body issues and negative experiences during PE lessons.
As part of the campaign, the athletes have taken part in a photoshoot aimed at encouraging girls to be proud of their athletic bodies.
Bluebella chief executive Emily Bendell explained: “We have to change the perception that the strong female form is not beautifully feminine. It is very depressing that some girls are still giving up sport at school because they don’t want to be labelled a tomboy or a show off.”
The three Olympic athletes involved in the campaign said they faced obstacles growing up and don’t want other girls to have to go through the same experiences.
Bryony, 32, a bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and current European champion, said: “I would always keep my body concealed when I was growing up and especially at school because I was concerned other kids would say: ‘Oh look at her, she looks like a boy.'”
Amber, 18, is a former BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and one of the world’s best clay pigeon shooters.
European champion Amber, competing in her first Olympics, said: “Girls at school tend to get to a certain level in sport and then drop out because they don’t want that muscular body change.”
Stefanie, 31, a five-time world record holder who became an amputee after losing the bottom part of her right leg in a boat’s propellors aged 15, said: “I hate the idea of girls not reaching their full potential in sport because they are afraid they won’t be accepted, or that it somehow makes them less feminine.”