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68 of the Most Memorable Olympic Outfits to Ever Appear in the Games

olympics costumes
The 68 Most Memorable Olympic Uniforms EverADRIAN DENNIS - Getty Images


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The next Summer Olympics will start on July 26, 2024, in the beautiful city of Paris, France. Not only is the location a dream, but we'll also get to see some of the most incredible athletes in the world compete and arrive at the opening ceremony in style. In addition to favorite sports, like gymnastics, swimming and diving, there will also be the introduction of the newest sport: breakdancing. Yes, that is correct. The iconic street dance form will be making its debut at the global sporting event.

Before tuning into the greatest sports competition in the world, take a trip down memory lane and see the most iconic looks from some of the best athletes in Olympics history. Athletes might be known for their strength and agility, but their talent isn't the only thing that makes them stand out. Most athletes have their own unique sense of style and form of self-expression — and they get to show it off during the games.

From FloJo's iconic hooded suit to Team Japan's 1964 arrival, these are the Olympic outfits that have really stood out over the years.

1924: Sonja Henie

At the age of 11, competitive figure skater Sonja Henie competed at the Olympics in Chamonix, France, wearing a fur-lined jacket and matching hat.

henie on ice
Central Press - Getty Images

1948: Dick Button

American figure skaters didn't have the option of wearing spandex 70 years ago, since the fabric hadn't been invented yet. That's why Dick Button secured the gold medal in Saint Moritz, Switzerland, wearing pleated trousers and a thick sweater, a feat he repeated four years later in Oslo, Norway.

Photograph, Ice skating, Standing, Snapshot, Black-and-white, Recreation, Leg, Joint, Photography, Skating,
Photograph, Ice skating, Standing, Snapshot, Black-and-white, Recreation, Leg, Joint, Photography, Skating,

1956: Tenley Albright

Before the Olympics had indoor arenas, sports like figure skating took place outside. That meant competitors, like Tenley Albright, had to brave the cold temperatures during their routines. Luckily, Tenley's long sleeve, panel-pleated dress looks warm enough.

tenley albright practicing for olympics
Bettmann - Getty Images

1960: USA Women's Gymnastics

The women's gymnastics team looked unified in striking dark blue tracksuits for their arrival in Rome during the 1960 Summer Olympics.

1960 rome olympics
George Silk - Getty Images

1960: Wilma Rudolph

American track and field star Wilma Rudolph wore a USA tank top and running shorts at the 1960 Summer Olympics, where she went on to become the first American woman to win three gold medals at the same Olympics.

wilma rudolph us athlete
ullstein bild - Getty Images

1964: USA Track Team

Team USA could still pull off this classic tracksuit look today, since it doesn't get more iconic than red, white and blue. The men's 4x100 meter relay team took gold that year in Tokyo.

Product, Team, Uniform, Player, Team sport, Championship, Sports, Cheerleading, Competition event, Sport venue,
Product, Team, Uniform, Player, Team sport, Championship, Sports, Cheerleading, Competition event, Sport venue,

1964: Japan's Olympic Teams

It was hard to miss Japan when they arrived at the 1964 opening ceremony in Tokyo. The athletes represented their country's national colors in matching red blazers, white pants and white hats.

1964 japan's olympic teams
Art Rickerby - Getty Images

1972: Canada's Olympic Team

Wide collars, plumed hats and polka dots... the Canadian delegation really went for it during the Parade of Nations at the Summer Games in Munich, West Germany. No Canadian won gold that year, but they definitely scored style points.

canada 1972 olympics
canada 1972 olympics

1972: Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz didn't need a cap or goggles to set a record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympics. The only thing he did wear besides a swimsuit was a much-buzzed-about mustache. While most swimmers were completely shaving off their body hair for competitions, Mark held on to his signature 'stache after a coach in college told him he couldn't grow one.

Swimming, Water, Swimmer, Wave, Recreation, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Individual sports, Freestyle swimming, Black-and-white,
Swimming, Water, Swimmer, Wave, Recreation, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Individual sports, Freestyle swimming, Black-and-white,

1976: France's Olympic Team

No, this isn't a scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — it's the French delegation sporting powder-blue caps and capes during the Summer Games in Montreal.

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1976: United Kingdom's Olympic Team

The Olympic athletes representing the UK embodied the Union Jack flag during the opening ceremony in 1976. The men wore blue suit jackets and khakis, while the women looked posh in red skirt suits and white scarves.

united kingdom
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1976: Dorothy Hamill

It wasn't just Dorothy Hamill's flawless routine and gold medal win at the 1976 Winter Olympics that had people talking. The American figure skater's wedge haircut quickly became one of the most popular styles of the decade.

figure skater dorothy hamill
Bettmann - Getty Images

1980: Eric Heiden

The American speed skater's gold suit predicted his groundbreaking performance. While many remember the Lake Placid Games for the "Miracle on Ice," Heiden performed a miracle of his own by winning all five of the sport's gold medals, an accomplishment that hasn't been replicated since.

Ice skating, Figure skating, Recreation, Skating, Leg, Individual sports, Ice, Winter sport, Sports, Sports equipment,
Ice skating, Figure skating, Recreation, Skating, Leg, Individual sports, Ice, Winter sport, Sports, Sports equipment,

1984: Katarina Witt

The East German skater liked to push boundaries with her costumes. This sparkly outfit (and tiara!) helped her secure a top spot during the Olympics held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia — the first time the Games were held in a socialist country.

katarina witt 1984
katarina witt 1984

1984: Zola Budd

The only thing more closely associated with Zola Budd than her run-in with Mary Decker is her unusual lack of footwear. The South African — who competed for Great Britain during the Los Angeles Games — trained and competed barefoot.

zola budd 1984 olympics
zola budd 1984 olympics

1988: Katarina Witt

Katarina Witt's skirtless, feather-trimmed costume at the Calgary Olympics ruffled the feathers of the International Skating Union. Soon after, the governing body would implement regulations nicknamed the "Katarina rule"that required female skaters to wear skirts. The controversy didn't hurt the athlete at the time though — she still skated away with the gold medal.

katarina witt 1988
katarina witt 1988

1988: Debi Thomas

U.S. figure skater Debi Thomas broke barriers when she also chose to forgo a skirt at the Calgary Games, instead competing in a jumpsuit.

debi thomas 1988 olympics
Ronald C. Mora - Getty Images

1988: Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner took home three gold medals at the 1988 Summer Olympics and broke a new Olympic record in the 100-meter dash. But we'd be remiss not to mention her bold style and signature hooded running suit.

flo jo olympics
Tony Duffy - Getty Images

1992: The Olympic Snow Globes

The biggest sartorial statement at the opening ceremony in Albertville, France, didn't come from any one nation, but rather from the human snow globes that walked in front of each team.

the olympic snow globes
Mike Powell - Getty Images

1992: Russia's Olympic Team

Russia's Olympic team resembled Dick Tracy more than they did professional athletes when they arrived at the Winter Olympics in Canada wearing trench coats and matching fedoras.

russian olympic team
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1992: Canada's Olympic Team

The Canadians wore all-white winter ensembles for the opening ceremony in Albertville, complete with ski jackets and white fur headbands stitched with a Canadian maple leaf on the front, of course.

1992 canadian olympic team
Bob Martin - Getty Images

1992: Kristi Yamaguchi

The black-and-gold number Kristi Yamaguchi wore for her victorious performance in Albertville, France, became so iconic that in 2015, it was on loan to the U.S. Figure Skating Museum in Colorado Springs, along with her gold medal.

kristi yamaguchi 1992 olympics
kristi yamaguchi 1992 olympics

1992: Donna Weinbrecht

The American freestyle skier took home the gold for her jumps and twists in 1992. The colorful snowsuit the New Jersey native wore for her turn on the podium definitely pointed to the trends of the times.

Snow, Biathlon, Recreation, Fun, Winter, Textile, Child, Winter sport, Skiing, Art,
Snow, Biathlon, Recreation, Fun, Winter, Textile, Child, Winter sport, Skiing, Art,

1994: Nancy Kerrigan

Vera Wang dreamed up this look for the ice princess to wear in Lillehammer, Norway. "This is more pressure than an Oscar dress in a strange way," Vera said. She paired rhinestones with clean lines to make Kerrigan "look tougher." Unfortunately, the athlete would only skate to silver in a controversial finish amid the Tonya Harding investigation.

Figure skate, Ice skating, Figure skating, Skating, Ice dancing, Recreation, Axel jump, Sports, Individual sports, Ice skate,
Figure skate, Ice skating, Figure skating, Skating, Ice dancing, Recreation, Axel jump, Sports, Individual sports, Ice skate,

1994: Tonya Harding

All eyes were on Tonya Harding at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. The figure skater, who was embroiled in scandal over the Nancy Kerrigan attack, took to the ice in a ruffled red outfit. She placed eighth in the competition, and a few months later, she was banned from the sport for life after pleading guilty to her involvement in Nancy's assault.

tonya harding
Mike Powell - Getty Images

1996: Russia's Olympic Team

The Russian Federation paraded around the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta wearing white outfits emblazoned with the trademark rings. It was the first time the country competed separately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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1996: Kerri Strug

Kerri Strug's stars-and-stripes leotard echoed the costume worn by Mary Lou Retton 12 years before. The teen helped the U.S. win a team all-around gold by famously landing her second vault on an injured ankle.

Sports, Artistic gymnastics, Gymnastics, Leotard, Individual sports, Sportswear, Tumbling (gymnastics), Floor exercise, Sport aerobics, Championship,
Sports, Artistic gymnastics, Gymnastics, Leotard, Individual sports, Sportswear, Tumbling (gymnastics), Floor exercise, Sport aerobics, Championship,

1996: Michael Johnson

Sprinter Michael Johnson earned the nickname "Man With the Golden Shoes," thanks to the metallic racing spikes he wore for the 200 and 400 meter finals. "I just wanted to change it up, and I thought gold would be a good color," he said at the time. Michael would later defend his 400-meter final in Sydney while wearing shoes with actual 24-karat gold woven into the fabric.

Sports, Athletics, Track and field athletics, Championship, Athlete, Individual sports, Recreation, Decathlon, Competition event, Running,
Sports, Athletics, Track and field athletics, Championship, Athlete, Individual sports, Recreation, Decathlon, Competition event, Running,

1998: Michelle Kwan

She ultimately lost out to fellow American Tara Lipinski, but Michelle Kwan's modern, streamlined costumes by Vera Wang really broke the mold. "I preferred a simple, elegant look," Michelle told W Magazine in 2017. "I didn't want to distract from the beauty of what was on the ice."

michelle kwan 1998
michelle kwan 1998

1998: Greece's Olympic Team

While the Greek team showed off national pride by waving flags at the opening ceremony, their somber all-black uniforms left critics unimpressed.

greek olympic team
Getty Images

2000: Japan's Olympic Team

Japan arrived at the first games of the new millennium in style, wearing rainbow capes in lieu of past years' more subdued outfits. The uniforms were intended to reflect Sydney's "carefree nature and the city's deep blue sky," the project supervisor told The Japan Times.

japan 2000 olympics
japan 2000 olympics

2000: Ian Thorpe

After decades of tiny, nylon suits, Speedo introduced Fastskin at the Sydney Olympics. The revolutionary new material modeled after shark skin covered many swimmers from wrist to ankle, including Australian champion Ian Thorpe. The sport's governing body would go on to ban full-body suits in 2010, in order to refocus the sport on physical performance.

Swim cap, Swimmer, Recreation, Swimming, Competition event, Modern pentathlon, Cap, Personal protective equipment, Pentathlon, Headgear,
Swim cap, Swimmer, Recreation, Swimming, Competition event, Modern pentathlon, Cap, Personal protective equipment, Pentathlon, Headgear,

2000: Ato Boldon

This Trinidadian track and field athlete, politician and four-time Olympic medalist turned heads with his futuristic style during the Sydney 2000 Games. Ato won a silver and bronze medal that year and remains the most successful individual Olympic medalist in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago.

ato boldon
Pool JO SYDNEY 2000 - Getty Images

2002: 1980 USA Men's Hockey Team

The United States invited the 1980 men's hockey team to light the torch at the 2002 Winter Games. The gold medal Olympians wore the same jerseys from their historic win against the Soviet Union.

us olympic mens hockey team
Getty Images

2004: Japan's Olympic Team

Japan turned heads yet again in Athens, Greece, with floral ensembles and colorful fans — which probably came in handy under the hot Mediterranean sun.

Event, Performance, Performing arts, Tradition, Dance, Folk dance, Festival,
Event, Performance, Performing arts, Tradition, Dance, Folk dance, Festival,

2004: Canada's Synchronized Swimming Team

Synchronized swimming is a sport that's known for its glitzy costumes, but these sparkly designs featuring the Queen of Hearts stood out in the pairs competition. Canadians Fanny Létourneau and Courtenay Stewart didn't win any hardware, but they still looked like royalty.

sports, swimming, recreation, swimmer, synchronized swimming, fun, water, individual sports, outdoor recreation, leisure centre,
Getty Images

2008: Usain Bolt

The Jamaican sprinter's gold running shoes carried him across the finish line — in world record time. And he made headlines when he finished the race with untied shoelaces.

usain bolt
Michael Steele - Getty Images

2008: Nastia Liukin

The American individual all-around gold medalist skipped the traditional red, white and blue in favor of a bejeweled hot pink leotard. The costume now belongs to the National Museum of American History.

nastia liukin 2008 olympics
nastia liukin 2008 olympics

2008: Michael Phelps

Were they cheering for team USA's patriotic swimsuits at the Beijing Olympics or because Michael Phelps had just set a new world record (again)? Probably the latter, but that doesn't mean those uniforms aren't impressive!

usa olympics team
Timothy Clary - Getty Images

2010: Johnny Weir

You can always count on the American figure skater to turn up in something exciting, and the Vancouver competition was no exception. Fun fact: Johnny would go on to design a costume for a gold medal winner in Sochi.

Ice skating, Figure skating, Skating, Jumping, Recreation, Figure skate, Ice dancing, Axel jump, Individual sports, Winter sport,
Ice skating, Figure skating, Skating, Jumping, Recreation, Figure skate, Ice dancing, Axel jump, Individual sports, Winter sport,

2010: U.S. Snowboarding

Shaun White, a.k.a. the "Flying Tomato," took home gold in the halfpipe wearing Burton snow pants made to look like baggy distressed jeans and a plaid jacket. The company's creative director dubbed the U.S. snowboarding team's look the "anti-uniform."

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Getty Images

2012: Jamaica's Olympic Team

Bob Marley's daughter, Cedella Marley, designed a range of outfits for her country's 2012 Olympic team to wear to the opening ceremony. Each ensemble was different from the next, but they all represented the country's personality and spirit.

jamaica olympic team
Christopher Morris - Corbis - Getty Images

2012: Malaysia's Olympic Team

The Southeast Asian country went with bold orange-and-yellow outfits for the opening ceremony in London. Flag bearer Pandelela Rinong would make history by becoming the first Malaysian female athlete to win an Olympic medal.

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Getty Images

2012: Queen Elizabeth

The Queen looked radiant in a peach ensemble as she kicked off the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. This was taken right after she "skydived" into the stadium with James Bond.

queen elizabeth olympics
Cameron Spencer - Getty Images

2012: India's Olympic Team

In 2012, India's Olympic team stood out during the opening ceremony parade in their bright canary yellow uniforms.

india opening ceremony olympics
Leon Neal/Getty Images

2012: Brazil's Synchronized Swimming

The costume worn Lara Teixeira and Nayara Figueira wore was a bold choice: The front showed a heart and veins, the back had ribs and their caps were "brains."

people in nature, synchronized swimming, fun, swimming pool, swimming, recreation, leisure, water, leisure centre, swimmer,
Getty Images

2012: Aliya Garayeva

If you think artistic gymnasts' leotards are flashy, just wait until you start watching rhythmic gymnastics. Aliya Garayeva of Azerbaijan competed in neon and sparkles during the individual all-around in London.

Performing arts, Entertainment, Gymnastics, Rhythmic gymnastics, Dancer, Performance, Artistic gymnastics, Sport aerobics, Acrobatics, Performance art,
Performing arts, Entertainment, Gymnastics, Rhythmic gymnastics, Dancer, Performance, Artistic gymnastics, Sport aerobics, Acrobatics, Performance art,

2014: Germany's Olympic Team

Despite buzz over whether or not their rainbow threads were a subtle protest against host nation Russia, the German federation insisted the colorful coats were not a political statement. You could spot them from a mile away though.

Event, Festival,
Event, Festival,

2014: Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski

The former Olympic skaters traveled to Sochi, Russia, to commentate for NBC at the Winter Olympics. They did a great job, but it was the duo's bold, coordinated outfits that ended up generating the most buzz.

johnny weir and tara lipinski
John Berry - Getty Images

2014: Norway's Curling Team

Every four years, Norway turns up to the Winter Games with the most colorful pants around. After harlequin print and modernist squares in Sochi, 2018's ensembles featured a pattern resembling splattered paint.

Hockey protective equipment, Team sport, Sports gear, Ice hockey, Sports, Ice rink, Bandy, Hockey, Stick and Ball Games, Player,
Hockey protective equipment, Team sport, Sports gear, Ice hockey, Sports, Ice rink, Bandy, Hockey, Stick and Ball Games, Player,

2014: Hubertus von Hohenlohe

Mexico only sent one athlete to represent them at the 2014 Winter Olympics — and, boy, did he deliver. Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe competed in a ski suit made to look like a traditional mariachi outfit.

prince hubertus
John Berry - Getty Images

2014: Cayman Island's Olympic Team

The athletes representing the Cayman Islands at the 2014 Winter Olympics proved that you can bring the beach anywhere — even Russia. The team puzzled spectators at the opening ceremony in their shorts, flip-flops and ski jackets.

cayman island olympic team
Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images

2014: Katie Uhlaender

USA Olympic skeleton skater Katie Uhlaender looked like she was about to take flight during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The athlete wore an eye-catching eagle helmet paired with a red, white and blue camouflage-printed suit.

katie uhlaender
Alex Livesey - Getty Images

2016: Australia's Olympic Team

Inspired by their uniforms at the 1924 Paris Olympics, the Australians attended the opening ceremony in Rio wearing striped blazers and white shorts.

Event, Uniform, Flag, Tourism,
Event, Uniform, Flag, Tourism,

2016: Tongan Flag Bearer

The real star of Rio's opening ceremony was Pita Taufatofua, who went viral for his oiled-up shirtless torso.

Performing arts, Dance, Event, Dancer, Performance art, Performance, Tradition, Fun, Musical theatre, Choreography,
Performing arts, Dance, Event, Dancer, Performance art, Performance, Tradition, Fun, Musical theatre, Choreography,

2016: USA Women's Gymnastics

It was a historic moment when team USA took home the gold for the second consecutive Olympics in 2016. Those medals looked great on them, especially when paired with their classic red and blue ribbed tracksuits.

usa womens gymnastics
David Ramos - Getty Images

2018: Mexico's Ski Team

Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe returned to the Winter Games in 2018 with another memorable outfit. But this time, he designed it for the two-member ski team. Set against a black background, colorful sugar skulls paid homage to the country's 2,000-year-old tradition called Day of the Dead.

mexico ski team
MARTIN BERNETTI - Getty Images

2018: South Korea's Iron Man

Wearing a helmet inspired by Marvel superhero Iron Man, Yun Sungbin became the first South Korean athlete to win gold in skeleton racing. "He's my favorite movie character and when I first saw myself going down the track, it looked like Iron Man flying with his suit, that's why I got the helmet," he told CNN.

south korea iron man
Martin Rose - Getty Images

2018: Canada's Snowboarding Team

At the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Canadian snowboarding team showed off their tricks in style. Designed by B.C. artist Corrine Hunt, she drew inspiration from her First Nations heritage for the jackets that looked like knit sweaters. A closer look at the outerwear not only shows realistic wool fibers, but also the story of the First Nations peoples and their art evolution.

canada olympics snowboard
David Ramos - Getty Images

2018: Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin

The Korean-American duo wore a romantic red-and-black ensemble. Yura's dress looked like an upside-down rose, and her graceful movements looked like something out of a movie. But during the performance, Yura had a wardrobe malfunction that disconnected a hook in her top. Instead of panicking, Yura continued to perform as if nothing happened, and the pair placed ninth overall.

yura min and alexander gamelin
Jean Catuffe - Getty Images

2021: Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were delayed a year because of COVID, and despite the masks and other restrictions, the games had some truly memorable moments — like Mutaz Essa Barshim of Team Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Team Italy opting to share a gold medal after their high jump competition kept ending in a tie. But this photo is also notable for Tamberi's Italian team uniform, which many said gave Pac-Man vibes.

mutaz essa barshim and gianmarco tamberi
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

2021: Tom Daley

The British diver took home a gold medal and a new sweater. While watching other teammates compete, Daley was spotted knitting his own one-of-a-kind pieces, including this Team GB Olympic jumper.

2021: Pauline Schäfer-Betz

Germany's gymnastics team, including Schäfer-Betz, made the controversial choice to wear full-body suits instead of the leotards typically worn by female gymnasts. The German Gymnastics Federation said the decision to wear unitards was to counteract sexualization in the sport and to give their athletes the chance to feel their most comfortable while competing.

german gymnasts
LIONEL BONAVENTURE - Getty Images

2021: Momiji Nishiya

With the debut of skateboarding at the Olympic Games came streetwear style — and Nike created really eye-catching graphics for Team USA, France, Brazil and the host country of Japan. Nishiya, who took home the first-ever gold in the women's street competition at the age of 13, sported Team Japan's bold look.

momiji nishiya
Patrick Smith - Getty Images

2021: Simone Biles

The sparkle! The smile! This stunning leotard only enhanced this moment of triumph for Biles as she stepped back onto the balance beam after sitting out multiple events in the games for her mental health and her struggle with "the twisties." The legendary gymnast made it back onto the beam, snagged a bronze medal and looked like a true champion.

simone biles
JEFF PACHOUD - Getty Images

2022: Julia Marino

Two words: Prada snowboard. Team USA's Marino got some major air on the most fashionable snowboard ever during the slopestyle finals at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Her partnership with the luxury brand also featured super-sleek ski gear.

julia marino
VCG - Getty Images

2022: Katharina Mueller and Tim Dieck

Most figure skating costumes are polished and elegant (see the ones worn by Michelle Kwan and Nancy Kerrigan), but German ice dancers Mueller and Dieck went in a different direction. Performing as Batman's Harley Quinn and the Joker, the duo embraced their villainous alter egos.

germany figure skating
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV - Getty Images

2022: Lucile Lefevre

Team France's Lefevre dressed like a cat for the 2022 big air snowboarding competition. Snowboarders often wear wild suits, but this is the first time we remember seeing an animal print... with a tail!

lucile lefevre
Catherine Ivill - Getty Images

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