Beach volleyball players, once forced to bare nigh their entire bodies while performing on the world stage, are now allowed to cover up when competing at the Olympics.

But not all of them did: Ladies from Russia, Italy and England — among others — still rocked two-piece bathing suits out there on the sand once the competition began a few days ago in London, prompting things like this gallery at Buzzfeed and rampant internet speculation over what it all means.

My personal opinion? These athletes are badass. They look amazing. If they want to wear bikinis — for whatever reason — more power to them.

But what do you think? Do you think it’s objectifying? Or do you think it’s empowering? Or do you think something else that I don’t even know about?

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Photo: Matthew Hynes / WENN