TURKEY: Cheerleaders go for modesty at Iran-U.S. basketball game

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The United States, including Lakers star Lamar Odom, blew out Iran score-wise in the basketball game between the two teams in the FIBA World Championship in Istanbul on Wednesday with an 88-51 victory over the Islamic Republic.

But Iran may have won a smaller victory. It may have prompted the otherwise lightly clad Ukrainian cheerleaders to dress a little more conservatively for the game.


Patrick Baumann, secretary-general of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), said ‘special arrangements’ had been made prior to the game on Wednesday regarding the dancers’ outfits to respect cultural sensitivities, reported Reuters.

‘It is a balance between respecting the culture and making sure basketball delivers all the pace, excitement and entertainment that goes with the World Championship,’ the news agency quoted him as saying at a news conference.

The outfits donned by the Ukrainian cheerleaders of the Red Foxes dance troupe during the Iran-U.S. game differed greatly from the costumes the women wore during other matches.

Take the recent game between Greece and the Ivory Coast in which they danced on the basketball arena in leopard-print halter tops with matching tights.

During such performances, Iranian officials reportedly have stood up and turned their backs. Some of them left prior to the cheerleaders’ routine during the Iranian-American match Wednesday.

On the other hand, news reports say dancers were completely absent from the arena during Turkey’s games.

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photos, from top: Dancers perform at the FIBA Basketball World Championship game between the U.S. and Iran in Istanbul on Wednesday. In other games in the series, dancers from the Ukrainian dance troop Red Fox donned much less conservative wear. Credit: Reuters