The Rio 2016 Olympics are here, and maybe even long gone, by the time you get to read this article. And while we stare at the gymnasts’ bodies defying the laws of gravity, twisting and twirling in the air, and then (hopefully) sticking a perfect landing time after time, we just can’t help but admire those skin-tight leotards they are wearing… as well as their superhuman abilities, of course.
The modern leotards are designed to wow the crowd, and, more importantly, to sway the judges. With their bright colors, and shiny little crystals no-one can resist their charm. A perfect skin-tight leotard is like a glorious red carpet dress for actors and celebs, and when you see the gymnasts step onto the mat wearing their best swag, you can tell at once it will make-or-break their performance. So, let’s check out some of the older gymnastics leotards and see if, and how, they’ve changed over time.
Compare these sweet ladies from Denmark, and their “eye-catching” gymnastics uniforms at the 1908 London Olympics, as compared to their modern Danish look. Is it photoshopped? Yeah. Was it with it? Hell yeah!
Now let’s travel back to 1964, Tokyo Olympics. This is the legendary Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. And on the right – a modern day Russian athlete rocking a nice tight leotard
Just 40 years ago at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, this Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci was already wearing a pretty up-to-date leotard. Well, maybe a tiny bit less revealing.
Muscles Are Everything!
As you’ve probably noticed it’s not only gymnastics leotards changed drastically. Just look at the athletes. They are bigger and much more muscular now.
Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Gabby Douglas (2016)
Andrea Thomas (1984) and Alexa Moreno (2016)
Olga Korbut (1976) and Jordyn Wieber (2012)
And now take a look at how the gymnastics routine has changed over the years! It’s just phenomenal to think that just a few decades ago all you had to do was jump over the thingy, and boom! Gold medal!
Rhythmic gymnastics has experienced a dramatic change too. In the past years the weight of the note fell mostly on the choreography and the artistic side of the performance, with little presence of difficulties. But in the late 90s, mostly because of the appearance of Russian gymnasts who used their enormous flexibility and technical ability as main elements, the Rhythmic Gymnastics Code of Points was changed and the elements of difficulty raised dramatically and reduced the value of the artistic part.
Check out more photos of the old rhythmic gymnastic performances of Russian gymnasts at the Olympics and see how they’ve changed over time.
Compare these ladies too…