— -- The Miss Universe organization has decided this week to replace the swimsuit competition in the Miss Teen USA pageant with athletic wear.
“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 current Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik told USA Today, which first reported the news.
Miss Universe President Paula Shugart wrote in a letter that the change will "celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty" and "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 added: "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."
The next Miss Teen USA pageant takes place in Las Vegas on July 30.