8 Interesting Facts About The Gymnastics Leotard

We wear them almost everyday, but do you know these interesting facts about gymnastics leotards?

1. The gymnastics leotard is named after French acrobat, Jules Léotard. As well as the leotard being named after him, he also developed the Trapeze and so inspired the song 'The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze' by George Leybourne.

2. At the 1948 Olympics, gymnast Cissie Davies' outfit was not a leotard, but instead a garment that looked very similar to a netball dress!

8 Interesting Facts About The Gymnastics Leotard

(Source: https://www.insider.com/olympics-gymnastics-leotards-2016-8#in-1948-cissie-daviess-uniform-at-the-london-games-even-had-a-skirt-2)

3. It was only in the 1980s that the Lycra material that we know and love was starting to be used!

4. The 1990s trend of crushed velvet was seen on many leotards in the 2000s, for example, worn by Team China at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. We don't see crushed velvet on many leotards today - who thinks it should make a comeback?!

5. The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games also saw the introduction of more sparkles to leotards, as well as the popular mystique fabric which grew rapidly in popularity leading up to the Athens Games in 2004.

6. Printed gymnastics leotards seemed to be the in-thing at the 2008 Being Olympic Games as well as an increase in the number of crystals used! Nastia Luikin's leotard had 184 diamantés on it - this may seem tiny compared to the sometimes 1000s of diamantés we see on leotards today! 

7. But, as the years went on, so did the diamantés and Gabby Douglas dazzled the crowd with almost 1200 crystals on her leotard at the 2012 Olympic Games!

8. Now, at present day, many competition leotards have 5000 or more diamantés on them - usually Swarovski crystals to create an incredible glittering effect under arena lights. One of Team USAs National Leotards is worth $1200!

Let us know in the comments your favourite leotard trend!

Please note we do not own the rights to the images used in this Blog. The source of this image is: https://www.insider.com/olympics-gymnastics-leotards-2016-8#in-1948-cissie-daviess-uniform-at-the-london-games-even-had-a-skirt-2)


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  • I’m in America and only ever participated in the sport recreationally as well as in a high school program (but I did receive enough training to have been proficient to Level 7: I “know” that probably seems like small potatoes to people with far more elite ability than I ever had - LOL, however I always had fun and WILL LOVE gymnastics for life!). I TOTALLY REMEMBER THE CRUSHED VELVET LEO CRAZE (with, don’t forget, usually a keyhole back or front neckline - ha!) when I got involved as a kid in the sport in 1993.

    They felt like a baggy tank top doubling as a onesie more than being any kind of supportive, real athletic clothing. I adored the purple and ice blue ones I had when I was around 10 (1997), but they never stood up all that well after awhile and you had to keep replacing them fairly often.

    When my gym “career” ended after high school graduation in 2004, I’d really wished our squad had had a chance to experience the kind of decked-out bling and truly stunningly gorgeous uniforms the girls today have the opportunity to wear. Unfortunately, my era was just on the brink of missing out on them (we’d gotten, by the early 2000s, metalflake fabric comp. leos - but they, disappointingly!, were nowhere near what the looks of now are).

    Thank you!

    Cristina Hoover

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