When it comes to the uniforms of Olympic athletes, figure skating takes the gold. It’s the best-dressed sport, bar none — even the men turn it out. Since the first Winter Olympic Games, in 1924, competitors have been outfitting themselves in everything from three-piece suits to skin-tight leotards. While the medal may go to the athlete who can land a triple axle, points for performance also matter, and therefore the costumes do, too. Some athletes, like Johnny Weir, even boast impeccable style off the ice.
Bedazzled, Barbie-pink leotards and ombre outfits may look like fun and games, but this is serious business. Many are often couture pieces, like Surya Bonaly’s outfits by Christian Lacroix, which she wore to the 1992 Games. Vera Wang, who’s been designing costumes for skaters like Nancy Kerrigan and Michelle Kwan for the past 20 years, told People magazine, “If one strap were to break, or if the beading on the sleeve gets caught when they turn, their whole Olympics is over. That is how serious it is.”
Over the years, technology has changed the way athletes dress. But not figure skating — at least on the surface. We’re excited to see what new (very good-looking) names like Adam Rippon, Nathan Chen, and Evgenia Medvedeva wear in Seoul this year. Medvedeva once competed to the Sailor Moon soundtrack in a full anime costume, so the bar is high.
The outfits of those who make it to the podium are often the ones seared into our memory, but there are so many great ones that have gone overlooked. Below, a look back at 15 of our favorites.