It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Olympic Games are a great opportunity to perve on the incredible bodies of athletes from around the world.

Sure, the Games can also teach us lessons about hard work, determination and national pride, but what we're all really here for are long, lingering shots of chiselled abs.

Beach volleyball is a great perving sport - if you're a straight man or a lesbian. Female volleyball players get around in itsy bitsy bikinis, are always bending over and frolicking in sand. They look phenomenal.

But it isn't as fun if you're a straight woman or a gay man, because the male players are covered up in baggy tank tops and knee length shorts.


So in the interests of perving equality, asked the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the sport's international governing body, to explain why the men and women's uniforms are so different.

According to the federation's beach volleyball rule handbook, the official FIVB beach volleyball women's uniform "consists of "tops and bikini bottoms AND eventual accessories", while the official men's uniform "consists of tank top and shorts AND eventual accessories".

"The FIVB maintains a strong emphasis on the production of beach volleyball uniforms and accessories to help athletes enhance their performance, as well as to ensure an attractive and coherent look at all FIVB events and giving branding opportunities to the promoters," the handbook states.

"Women athletes must wear bikini bottoms that are in accordance with the diagram, be a close fit and be cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg. The women's tops (a crop top design) must fit closely the body as well and the design must be with deep cutaway armholes at the back, always respecting the space for the required brandings."

There are strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor names, which might explain why male competitors are required to wear shirts - because they need somewhere to display the advertisers.

"The athlete shorts must not be baggy," the handbook says. "For all athletes the bottom of the shorts must be above the knee cap. The men's tank tops must fit closely to the body and must be sleeveless, respecting the space for the required brandings."

As we saw when Egypt played Germany each other earlier this week, there are alternative outfit options available for female players. These a tank top or t-shirt and shorts, or long sleeves and pants.

Australia's female beach volleyball Olympians - Nicole Laird, Taliqua Clancy, Louise Bawden and Maria De Artacho del Solar - have all chosen to wear the bikini-style uniform. No Australian male players qualified for Rio.