You just purchased a 'TEAM USA' t-shirt on Etsy, your plans for the next few weeks revolve around sports, and you're suddenly an expert on the ins and outs of gymnastics scoring. In other words: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have finally arrived (after a year-long delay!) and the time has come to stan the U.S. gymnastics team. And also their outfits, naturally.
While the looks Olympic athletes wear might not seem like the most important thing ever, for the U.S. gymnastics team, they kinda are! Literal points get deducted if their leotards aren't perfect, they're custom-made for each athlete, and they take years to design. Basically, they're the ultimate mix of style and functionality, and the designers who make them have been doing The Most since back in the 1930s.
This year's leotards are from GK Elite, and feature 7,600 Swarovski crystals each. "There's a lot of research and development that goes into it," Kelly McKeown, the chief design officer for GK Elite, told Cosmopolitan back in 2016. "It's something you don't want to rush. If you want to use a new technique, if you want to experiment, then you have to wear-test it, you have to wash-test it, you have to make sure that it's not going to fail on the competition floor."
Click through all 50 photos to how the U.S. gymnastics team's uniforms have evolved over the years!
In a pre-spandex world, jumping over a pommel horse was a medal-worthy feat, even without flips and twists.
It's sort of like an oversize baby onesie with a beauty queen sash. At least it doesn't look constricting!
It's the cute ballet slippers for me!
In the 1950s, everyone wore their pants up around their armpits. Even their track pants.
Sharon Richardson, Doris Fuchs, Muriel Davis
The blue tracksuit would eventually become a staple of every U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.
This look is brought to you by hair spray: Too much is never enough!
A whole mood.
No "USA?" No red, white, and blue? What's going on here?
Mary Lou Retton
That's better. America!
Mary Lou Retton
How do I get an exact replica of this tracksuit for my everyday wear?
Mary Lou Retton
The vibes here are so aggressively '80s, it's like I'm watching Stranger Things.
These prints are starting to get quite elaborate.
Tell me you're from the USA without telling me you're from the USA.
Not gonna lie, I kinda want one of these just to, like, wear around.
Betty Okino, Wendy Bruce, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Kerri Strug, Kim Zmeskal
Is there anything more '90s than a giant printed Windbreaker?
This was the year Team USA started experimenting with metallic prints like the big gold star on the side of this leotard.
For the most part, all the uniforms this year were white.
This one had a blue sleeve, though, so that's a little different.
She was the queen of gymnastics in the '90s, and that scrunchie was her crown.
Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, Shannon Miller
Windbreakers required; pants optional.
(Really, Kerri Strug broke her ankle landing her final vault of the team competition and couldn't get her foot through the leg of her track pants.)
More white. This time with slightly metallic red sleeves.
Red, white, and blue. All at the same time. Novel!
Solid red with just a hint of white—a bold departure for Team USA. Sort of. Not really.
And then we have solid red with just a hint of blue! Ya know, just mixing things up!
Annnnnd we're back to mostly white.
Whoa! Purple. Weird. Although, if you think about it, purple is just red and blue mixed together.
Back to red, but this time with crystals! ~*SpaRkLy*~.
A closer look at the lewk.
The assignment is stars! and! stripes!
No crystals this time, but the metallic red on this leotard sparkles almost as well.