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Finally: Miss Teen USA Gets Rid of the Swimsuit Portion of the Competition

This year’s Miss Teen USA pageant won’t feature the sometimes infamous swimsuit portion of the competition. According to USA Today, the Miss Universe organization decided this week to replace swimsuits with athletic wear.

Miss Universe president, Paula Shugart, shared a memo about the decision.

“This decision reflects an important cultural shift we’re all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same,” she wrote. “Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA’s fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are.”

In the past, pageant organizers have said the swimsuit portion was to show off how athletic the competitors were. The competitors are between the ages of 15-19, so the transition over to athletic wear signals a move to focusing more on physical fitness and less on the way teenagers’ bodies look.

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“This new direction for Miss Teen USA is a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers,” the reigning Miss Teen USA, Katherine Haik, told USA Today. “I have been an athlete my entire life. As a member of a softball team and a competitive dance team, I spend a lot of time in athletic wear.”

This move comes as pageants under the Miss Universe umbrella continue to change and get away from traditions—from interview questions about women in the military to a contestant who is a spinal surgery nurse to a contestant with a hearing impairment.

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