Gymnastics is one of the most popular sports of the Summer Olympic Games, and part of the fun remains in the colorful and creative leotards worn by the athletes. 2012 was an exciting year for the American team of gymnasts. Olympic fans witnessed the amazing performance by the US Women’s Gymnastics team while they defeated Russia and won gold. Their smiles beamed proudly as they hugged each other and waved to the crowd.
These golden girls, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Weber amazed the audience with their stunning outfits. The leotards are the most important piece of their equipment. The US women’s team wore a bold red for their gold medal performance, as shown in the picture below.
For those of you who do not know what the gymnastic leotards are made from, here is an explanation. Adidas is the official apparel provider for USA Gymnastics and used a Pennsylvania company named GK Elite to create the team’s competition leotards. Adidas and GK Elite, which designed the 2012 Olympic leotard used a fabric called Mystique. The same company also offers the Nastia Liukin Gold Medal Collection and Shawn Johnson Leotard Collection for gymnasts aspiring to follow in the footsteps of the Olympians.
This special type of fabric must meet very strict guidelines for stretch and offer the gymnast enough coverage with two layers to remain colorful when put to the maximum. The fabric that is gymnastics new staple allows the gymnast a cooler feel under the arena lights while the past uniforms are rather hot.
This material, Mystique, has become the sport’s most popular fabric over the last few years. Mystique starts with a nylon spandex base that must pass GK’s stringent stretch requirements. On top of the nylon is a layer of small foil dots, a pointilist array that covers nearly the entire spandex surface.
Tanya Chaplin, the head coach at Oregon State University, says that even in gymnastics fashion has influenced how leotards are made. Comfort plays a major role in the recent popularity of the material. Though the material doesn’t wick away sweat, this is a compromise sportswomen seem willing to make this compromise.
Of course, criticism rose over whatever the 2012 Olympic gold Champions gymnast team from the US wear, but love it or hate it, the women sparkled and it had very little to do with the leotards.