Uniforms are just one of the minor problems in preparing athletes for the Olympics but are curious to many.
The American gymnastics team, nicknamed Final Five, has been the focus of many major newspapers these days after successfully winning the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Not only marked with great skills, 5 girls also attracted attention with extremely eye-catching and impressive performance costumes. Let’s uncover the interesting secrets behind the leotard – the specific tight suit they have been wearing when practicing and competing in the past.
Each member of Final Five owns a total of 20 leotard sets including 12 sets used for training and 8 sets used to compete with a total value of about 12,000 USD. As such, an American Olympic team kit is even more expensive than the actual value of an Olympic gold medal, which is estimated to be around 600 USD according to CNN.
The red leotard that the US Olympic team just met in the qualifiers not long ago was studded with 5,000 Swarovski crystals and that’s why it costs more than $1,000 a set.
Kelly McKeown, design director of GK Elite, which has been producing apparel for the US Olympic team since 2000, said: “We have done a lot of research and improvement on the team’s uniforms. This is something you can’t hurry. If you want to apply new technology, you have to take the time to try it on, wash it to make sure it doesn’t cause any trouble on the floor”.
Although the leotard fits close to the wearer’s body, that doesn’t mean that everyone will fit in one size. “Every athlete has a unique body shape so we can’t sew anything. For example, Simone Biles is muscular and has large shoulders but very small hips, so every part of the leotard must be adjusted to her body” – Kelly McKeown.
The leotard models that the Final Five wore at the Olympics this time took 4-6 weeks to complete. After sewing, each sample is tried by the athletes many times so that the tailor can adjust and repair them so that they fit and comfortable. The reason is because of training or stress, the athletes’ bodies will be more or less changed, and trying on them many times will help them adjust to the perfect outfit.