Fashion At The Olympics


Posted: February 3, 2023

Updated: February 3, 2023

  • The evolution of sports fashion
  • Designers create the Olympic uniforms
  • Fashion at the Olympics

The time before the Olympics and the opening ceremony is equivalent to a fashion show. Nowadays, no uniform is really made without a famous designer, so it is natural that fashion fans can’t wait to see how the countries of the world parade their athletes in more and more beautiful uniforms.

However, the clothing of an athlete seems more than a fashion show, while their win might depend on tenths of a second. Whether a runner manages to reduce air resistance, or a swimmer can perfect their water surface with their clothes, it matters a lot. Check out the fashion at the Olympics!

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Sports Fashion Has Come a Long Way!

In athletics, tracksuits that fit the body have come to the fore because the goal is to reduce air resistance. However, it wasn’t always the case. In 1896, at the first modern Olympics in Athens, they competed in relatively long, but not long, pants. Even the four-time Olympic champion, the African-American Jesse Owens, won in Berlin in 1936 in loose but shorter pants, which they captured on camera. 

Today, athletes jump and run in the sleekest and shortest clothing. The Australian athlete Cathy Freeman’s full-figured suit, introduced at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, did not become a breakthrough fashion, which is perhaps the only mistake in the increasingly evolving athletic fashion. Though there are full-body suits that have holes in them to give the runner an advantage of 0.023 seconds per hundred meters.

For speed, improving flexibility, and reducing or even increasing friction, shoes are one of the most significant articles of clothing that have undergone incredible development in the last more than a hundred years. At the same time, there are restrictions on shoes in athletics. For example, athletes must not use them in a way that gives the athlete an unfair advantage. There are plenty of swimming championships throughout the year, but during the ice swimming competitions around the world, the swimmers can wear long suites!

Fashion at the Olympics

While athletes wear tighter and tighter clothes, boxers today dress much looser than in 1956. A Soviet competitor of the time fought in the ring in very tight clothing, and Papp Laci, three-time Hungarian Olympic champion, also mostly boxed in tighter clothes.

The enhancement of safety is another crucial aspect that has led to significant changes in the equipment of boxers. Head protection became a requirement relatively late, and athletes fought without it for a long time.

However, not only boxers protect their heads against injuries. In fencing, wearing a helmet seems normal for everyone. However, recordings from 1896 and 1900 testify that, although the protective helmet was already invented in France in the 18th century, at the first two Olympics, competitors fenced without head protection.

In the pictures from 1900, which they took at the Paris Olympics, one of the members of the Italian national team, Italo Santelli, appears without a helmet. You can also check out them at online sportsbook sites in Italy!

The protective clothing of fencers has also improved a lot in the meantime. After a scary accident at the 1982 World Cup, they added kevlar to them. The plastron is the chestpad of fencers, but they also wear a coat woven with metal threads, lamé, to protect from hits. A piece of cloth comes down from the head guard, which guards the neck. Head guards are now more transparent than before, mainly due to the TV-friendly transformation of fencing.

Changing Leotards

As gymnastics became more acrobatic, more and more care had to be taken to replace excessively loose, flowing clothes with form-fitting leotards for swimming and athletics. However, in 1928, the members of the Dutch women’s gymnastics team took to the field in rather awkward clothes. The outfit seems too loose to be graceful. The gymnastics competitions were held outdoors in the first few Olympics.

In comparison, the Romanian prodigy Nadia Comaneci had a legendary performance already in body-hugging clothes, and of course, in an indoor gymnasium. She got the first 10.0 points, which she repeated five more times. A fun fact is that at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the display was unsuitable for showing a score of 10 since there had never been a score so high that they would need two digits before. Therefore, her result was first shown as 1.00.

Fashion at the Olympics

As far as swimmers are concerned, the reduction of mass resistance has always been an important goal here as well, so we can observe the long history of swimsuit fashion over the course of more than a century.

A few years ago, super suits or shark suits that cover almost the entire figure came back in style, but they eventually banned them because they had a structure that seriously improved the results, and swimming is not a technical sport. The shark suit not only improved the resistance to the environment but other factors that are helpful in the water, which is why they limited the length of the suits. 

For example, for men, swimming trunks cannot exceed a certain length. At the same time, they also produce super suits from traditional materials, textiles, whose size and material do not violate the rules. Yet they provided significant help to the swimmers at the 2012 London Olympics.

According to online sportsbook sites in Italy, the British team could have performed up to 2% better in its new outfit. The question is what the international swimming federation and the Olympic committee will do with these fashion items in the future.

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Bikini in 1912

The dress of the British women’s swimming team in 1912 was quite interesting. Observing the image with a keen eye, you can see that under the silky exterior of the contestants’ clothing, the lines of the bottom part of the bikinis are similar to what women wear today.

However, the 1912 outfit of the British team was interesting because the bikini was not invented until 1946. Of course, looking into things more closely, the American movie stars of the 1940s wore similar two-piece swimsuits, and the Roman girls in ancient times practically wore the same bikinis women wear today.

Carl Jantzen actually designed a two-piece women’s swimsuit in 1913, inspired by the fact that women could already swim at the Olympics at that time. However, even one-piece women’s swimsuits caused a scandal a few years before, since until then, women wore pants and trousers for swimming. Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested in 1907 because of her one-piece swimsuit. Though, she was not at the Olympics but on the beach in Boston.

Fashion at the Olympics

Horseback riders and pentathletes reveal less about themselves while riding. Initially, soldiers rode in unofficial uniforms at the Olympics.

In the meantime, since the 1950s, they have developed a more united dress code. Today, riders usually wear jackets, tailcoats, jodhpurs, and helmets in international competitions. On the other hand, others spend crazy sums of money on clothes equipped with security solutions.

This is usually complemented by white breeches, gloves, black riding boots, and spurs. Soldiers and police officers can now wear the same clothing as amateur riders or their uniforms at international equestrian competitions. The change in tennis players’ fashion is also extremely spectacular. Although their clothing is still relatively elegant today, there are still images of tennis players posing in ties at the beginning of the last century. Imagine the difference it would make at 22BET Sportsbook!

Danish gymnasts and archers of the time also appear in the pictures. It is worth browsing through the recordings. However, mostly the men played in long pants, and the women wore long dresses and hats. Today, speed and occasional acrobatic movements require simpler clothing. Nowadays, fans also pay attention to the various brands and fashion designers’ clothes the players wear. Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Armani, and Louboutin are just a few fashion designers who have designed Olympic uniforms. 

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