Showing their pride! Since women’s gymnastics was first introduced to the Summer Olympics at the 1936 Berlin Games, the athletes’ uniforms have become intertwined with the sport.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics officially kicked off and the women’s competition in gear, it only felt appropriate to take a look back at the leotards through the years.
For this year’s competition, Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner represented the United States in style!
The official uniforms, which made their grand debut on the mat, are designed by GK Elite Sportswear and are blinged out in a lot (we repeat: a lot) of Swarovski crystals.
“The first thing you should know about this competition leotard is that it’s made of completely recycled fabric in a nod to Tokyo’s focus on sustainability, especially for this competition year,” GK Elite Sportswear wrote via Instagram on Sunday, July 25. “We didn’t stop there though, over 76 stars are either sewn or glued to this leotard in tribute to America’s founding year: 1776. In total, this competition leotard uses over 6,400 @swarovski crystals in Brilliance, Clear, and Metallic Gold in a variety of sizes and shapes. The replica version of the gorgeous National Team competition leotard is now available at gkelite.com! #gkelite #youareachampion #youaregk #AsSeenInTokyo
While this year’s uniforms have their fair share of sparkle, that wasn’t always the case. Rewind the clock to the beginning and the leotards took a much more low-key approach.
From long sleeve black bodysuits and spandex options, the looks were practical and relatively simple. As time went on however, the uniforms became much more spirited.
In 1984 for example, at the Los Angeles Olympics, Mary Lou Retton, who was the first American to win a gold medal in gymnastics with her individual all-around score, wore a flag design on her uniform.
Red, white and blue themes remained for years, with athletes like Shaun Johnson, Dominique Dawes and Brandy Johnson wearing slightly different, yet equally patriotic variations.
When the 2012 London Olympics rolled around, the team switched up their style. Gabby Douglas, who was part of the Fierce Five, wore an iridescent silver leotard that was seriously shiny.
The outfits at the 2016 Rio Olympics were all about glitz. Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Biles and Douglas had bodysuits with more than 5,000 crystals.
To talk a look back at Team USA’s Olympic uniforms through the years and in celebration of the Tokyo Olympics, keep scrolling.