Olympic Fashion From Over A Century Of Competition
The modern Olympic Games began in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Taking place more than 1,500 years after the last Olympics were held, the apparel worn by the competitors was obviously different, but the differences were a bit subtle compared to the differences between the 1896 Games and the upcoming 2016 Rio Games. Get to know more about the changes in sports apparel over the last 120 years, as well as the changes in what the winners wear with these Olympic fashion facts.
Competitive dress for male athletes at the first Olympic Games wasn't as restrictive as one might imagine. Men wore long shorts and shirts, sometimes with a vest. Women, on the other hand, weren't allowed to compete in the first Olympics. When golf, tennis and yachting were added to the Olympic schedule for women in 1900, women's clothes were much more uncomfortable than men's. Though it wasn't far from the type of fashion being worn at the time, ankle-length dresses, long-sleeved tops and heels didn't make competition in the summer heat better than bearable.
In the 1912 Olympic Games, some female swimmers from Team USA were banned due to their choice of swimming uniforms. While there were several instances of female athletes attempting to skirt the rules in favor of more appropriate competition attire, the prevailing male authority put a stop to women in gymnastics, swimming and diving who tried to wear clothes that showed too much skin. Anything above the ankle was considered unladylike. Sleeveless shirts were not allowed. These rules were just for women. Men's attire would have been considered unladylike.
By the time the 1936 Olympic Games came around, a lot of progress had been made in the world of fashion. While men's uniforms at the Olympics were making small adjustments for practical purposes, women's attire drastically changed. Shorts and sleeveless shirts were allowed, and the broader emphasis on practicality for sports apparel shifted the focus from aligning with societal conventions to optimizing the uniform to improve competition. The Games were also becoming more and more popular, attracting countries from around the world with different fashion ideas.
Fabrics For Flexibility
With a focus on performance, attention was always being paid to how to improve an athlete's uniform, mostly to prevent wind resistance or increase flexibility. It wasn't until the introduction of spandex in the 1972 Olympics that the modern Olympic uniform began to take shape like we know it today. The switch to spandex would improve many sports, especially track & field, but it had an immediate impact in 1972 with the new leotards gymnasts were allowed to wear. Small improvements were continually made, such as the full bodysuit for track at the 2000 Olympics.
From Wreaths To Medals
In the earliest Olympic Games in Ancient Greece, athletes were awarded wreaths made from the branch of wild olive trees. The branches grew at Olympia, the official site of the Games. With the modern Olympics in 1896, medals were awarded in place of wreaths, but due to a slimmer budget at the time, gold was not awarded to first place finishers. Instead, silver medals and an olive branch were given to champions. Stranger awards were presented at the second Olympics held in Paris, where winners received artistic paintings and works of art in place of medals. Finally back to their original design, the 1904 Games made the switch to traditional Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Olympic uniforms have gone through some major changes since 1896. Sports apparel and fashion in general has become more practical, comfortable and stylish. Get the sports apparel you need to stay fit and the fashionable outfits to fit your style at a value price with LTD Commodities.