Olympic Gymnastics Leotards | Leotards

Olympic Gymnastics Leotards

I have always loved women’s artistic gymnastics. It is one of my favorite sports to watch. I remember when I was a child watching Olga Korbut’s back flip on the bars and Nadia Commenici’s perfect 10. The acrobats they’d perform were so exciting. It still thrills me to see those tiny little ladies flipping and flying through the air with seemingly effortless ease. I was fortunate enough to get tickets to some of the WAG events at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and the acrobats some of them were doing were truly amazing, but the part that really got me were the leotards. Some of the athletes truly captured and held my attention before they even mounted their apparatus. They marched into the arena like rock star divas, brightly colored glitter queens in these amazingly beautiful costumes, custom made outfits that I’m sure cost hundreds of dollars each.


The First Leotards 

  Olympic gymnastics leotardshaven’t always been as elaborate as we see them today. Some of the first female gymnasts wore suits that were very similar to dresses. Early pictures of the 1908 London Games don’t show any glittery rhinestones or mesh fabric, instead we see knee-length skirts with trousers and baggy long sleeved shirts. Over the course of time they gradually became more sophisticated and stylish.

 Mariane Barone,  who competed in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics is seen wearing a very plain short sleeved leotard. The style is getting closer to the ones we see today. The main difference is that it isn’t as tight-fitting and had a higher neckline. nonetheless, the general shape is similar to our modern leotard.

 Leotards in the 1960s

  This picture of British gymnasts is from 1960. Even though they competed as a team, all five women are wearing different styles of leotards.


Leotards in the 1970s and 1980s 

All through the 1970s and 1980s we saw gymnasts performing in very simple colors. More emphasis appeared to be on their actual talents and less on the glam and glitz.

Leotards  In The 1990s 

In the 1990s leotard styles started to get fancier. Up til now they had been typically made of polyester textiles. It was during this period that leotards made of velour, foil, velvet, mesh. and metallic fabrics decorated with colorful jewels and metallic rhinestones started to be worn for competitions.

Modern Day Gymnastics Leotards 

The evolution of the gymnastics leotard spoke for itself at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The best tumblers from all over the world showed us a lot more than exceptional gymnastics talent. They sparkled and shone in a patriotic array of stunning leotard designs. Thousands of Swarovski crystals decorated the most innovative leotard designs I’ve ever seen; some of them sparkled like wedding dresses. Team USA had eight different designs for the Games, each one costing around $500. Here are some of my favorites:

  Catalina Ponor

Sandra Isbaza

Ana Porgras

All three of these leotards were designed and manufactured by the famous French designer: Moreau.

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