Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, home to the 2016 Olympic Games and one of the most humid places on the face of the planet. Next week alone, the humidity index will hover around 70 percent. In that type of weather, a blowout is a joke. But braids? There’s nothing better. French braids, twists, cornrows, and box braids seem to be the go-to styles for many American Olympians in their quest for the gold. Between Michael Tinsley’s sexy French braids and Allyson Felix’s long box braids, America’s finest are battling the Brazilian humidity as effortlessly as they are winning medals.
Looking at the athletes, you can’t help but think of the late, great Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith-Joyner. The track star — who set a world record at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in acrylic nails and waist-length hair — left two legacies: her nearly impossible to beat times, and her never-shy style, which future generations of Olympians have eagerly embraced. If these athletes are any measure, Flo-Jo’s “get golds, stay golden” aesthetic lives on.
See the best looks in the slideshow below.