Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trendy and Bendy?

For the longest time, my family and I have been watching gymnastics and figure skating broadcasted live on television. This ritual has a deeper significance for our family than any other show or sport as it was embedded in our Russian culture. It’s like watching a Habs game for a Montreal based family. Clearly, a big deal. Why figure skating and gymnastics? It was something about the artistic shapes and overall surreal ambiance these sports portrayed.  And my mom was always looking for the trendiest performance leotards in the women’s disciplines. At some point, I think it became more important than the judges’ scores. It wasn’t so much about the colors as performers consistently identified with their countries’ flags. The fit, the neckline and the design features were the elements critically observed and analyzed over the different programs. I just had to look into it and decided to share this information with all of you gymnastics lovers!

First and foremost, the coach and PR team are usually in charge in choosing the gear during both performance and media coverage sessions.  There are a number of criteria in choosing a leotard for an athlete mainly because different disciplines require outfits catering to specific physical activities. For example, necklines should as camisole or halter would not be appropriate for tumbling activities where speed and aggressive movements require strong support. Mock-Neck and Off-the-Shoulder leotards are prioritized, as they are most suited in adapting to the athlete’s upper body extension in tumbling disciplines. Numerous associations such as the USA Gymnastics have regulations preventing coaches from making decisions provoking negative reactions as to the hypersexualization of a competition outfit. Other factors to be considered include high leg cuts or the tightness creates by the elastic around both the shoulders blades and tights.

We are now getting to the fun stuff: Design. Comfort is everything and the athlete needs breathable and stretchy material such as nylon, velvet or mesh. Furthermore, coaches take the time to consider what their competitors would look best in all time.  For example, white and light colors are usually minimized because they show a lot of body mass detail and might not flatter gymnasts of all shapes and sizes.  Slippery materials are reduced in terms of usage because it can cause safety issues when coaches or teammates spot an athlete. Let’s now look at some of STICKITOTHEMAT’s personal favorites of the most recent competitions.

We particularly enjoyed Canada's outfits during the 43rd World Championships of Gymnastics in Tokyo mainly because of their fiery shade of red demanding attention regardless of the discipline. Furthermore, the accesory in the hairstyle of the atheletes complemented the cutout detail of leotard.

What caught our attention in Greece’s Millousi Vasiliki’s outfit is the sheerness and details around the chest area. It has that element of surprise with the goldenrod stripe and burgundy details elongate her figure and capture the elegance of her movements. 

 Venezuela was another country that used sheer details to capture the attention of the public. The lines put a new twist on the classic black leotard and are interesting to observe during artistic routines where movements is slow and optimized.

This had led me to ask myself: How important are costumes for the athletes and the audience?  Are they benefiting or distracting from the art itself? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know what you think!!

By: Anna Vinitskaia


  1. OMG I looooove Millousi Vasiliki’s outfit!!!

  2. It is indeed gorgeous, " I love Gymnastic"! Why exactly do you like it? Are you more motivated to watch these kind of disciplines because of the outstanding outfits? - Anna Vinitskaia