The USA Olympic gymnastics team is one of the best in the world. But their leotards also have an amazing story. Here are 10 facts to know about their leotards!
The United States women's gymnastics team received the highest ratings in 11 years during the championship round. So many heroic stories have happened throughout the years on the gymnastics mat.
The outfits they wear are iconic and have graced Wheaties boxes and newspaper front pages throughout the years. There is an art to the leotard that should be studied and admired on this level of competition.
Read on to learn more about Olympic leotards and what goes into making them and showing them off on the world stage.
1. Olympic Leotards Cost More Than $1,000 Each
First things first, you should recognize that some serious money goes into each leotard that is worn. In fact, the team that competed at the most recent Rio summer games wore leotards that cost upwards of $1,200 each.
Women's gymnastics happens to be one of the most popular Olympic sports worldwide, due in large part to the success and prestige of the United States team.
With the news that Simone Biles is gearing up a return for Tokyo, it's clear that they will keep bringing in sponsorship dollars and acclaim.
She's largely heralded as the greatest ever, and elevating the sport means that sponsors will keep putting money and detail into the outfits.
2. The Gymnasts Get Multiple Outfits for the Olympic Games
Not only does each outfit cost about a grand—each woman gets several different leotards.
The competition portion of the gymnastics games lasts for four days, yet each competitor gets eight different leotards. It's a huge investment into the team, which exemplifies how rare of an honor it is to compete at that level.
3. They Include Beautiful Crystals
The beautifully designed crystals account for much of the high price of these leotards.
These outfits are made with more than 5,000 Swarovski crystals, which are some of the most brilliant and sought after crystals in the world. They are patterned into custom designs that sparkle under the lights when each gymnast competes.
4. The Leotards Are Produced By Big-Name Manufacturers
Women's gymnastics is supported by large corporations in the same way that the men's basketball team uniforms are sponsored by big-name NBA-backed companies. Under Armour and GK Elite work side by side to create the leotards that the women wear.
Sponsors also outfit them with several training leotards and warmup outfits to wear leading up to and during the Olympic games.
5. Sleeves Are Fitting for the Occasion
If you follow gymnastics, you'll notice that competitors can choose between sleeves and sleeveless outfits. While sleeveless leotards are common, sleeves are the norm for Olympic competition.
It adds a bit of formality to the occasion, similar to an evening gown. While women don sleeves during the Olympics as part of the norm, wearing pants borders on frowned upon.
The leotards are sleek, elegant, custom-made, and modern, but old-school traditions still apply.
6. Each Gymnast Has Her Leotard Custom Made to Her Figure
One thing you'll notice about any given gymnastics team is that each competitor has a very unique skillset and build.
Simone Biles is about 4'9 and has a compact body with muscular arms. Aly Raisman is about 5 inches taller and outweighs Biles by more than 10 pounds.
They have different dimensions and use their bodies in different ways in competition, so it's only right that they would wear very different leotards.
Each leotard is custom made for each women's build so that she can compete at the highest level and feel comfortable.
There are several differences in each leotard even though the casual observer can watch an entire competition and mistakenly think that everyone is wearing the same.
The subtleties in the stripes, swirls, and patterns are so sophisticated, which is why the best designers in the world work on these leotards.
7. Their Outfits Are Compression Fitted
There's spandex, and then there are the leotards that the Olympic team wears. These are compression fitted, which is the highest level of tight form-fitting competition outfits.
This allows them to focus on their routines without worrying about any part of the leotard slipping or not supporting them. That's incredibly important since a mishap with the uniform can lead to points taken away.
8. The Designers Take Two Years to Make Them
A lot of craftsmanship and artistry goes into making Olympic leotards. In fact, the creators take more than two years to put them together.
Several prototypes are made before it is finally sent off to create the final product.
9. They Get Multiple Fittings to Get It Just Right
Throughout the course of crafting these leotards, the gymnasts go through at least three fittings. This is about as often as a woman gets fitted and refitted for her wedding gown.
Getting these multiple fittings helps them get it just right so that nothing feels off when they're on the mainstage. The designers frequently check in with them throughout the years and at competitions leading up to the Olympic games in order to take new measurements.
10. Fans Can Buy Replica Collections After Each Olympic Games
Finally, it's important to know that fans can get in on the action as well. In the same way that basketball fans can buy jerseys, gymnastics fans can purchase replica collection leotards.
They are made to match the ones the gymnasts actually wear, but won't have the same quality of materials in order to keep the prices affordable.
Keep Doing Your Leotard Research
These points show exactly what kind of work goes into Olympic leotards. Considering this level of detail should inspire you if you have a special gymnast in your life.
Buying leotards will be a little more exciting after you've done some research. We'd be happy to help you out with anything you need.
Reach out to learn more about our story and to buy a great leotard today.