Gymnasts are required to wear leotards for their performances. Leotards are a one piece sports uniform perfect for both male and female gymnasts offering comfortable movements due to its skin tight, stretchable fabric that covers most of the body. This item of clothing was made popular by the acrobatic entertainer Jules Léotard from France. There are many different types of leotards in the world such as short sleeved, long sleeved and sleeveless leotards. Another variation is the unitard which also covers the legs.
Leotards are usually worn by a number of different athletes such as actors, acrobats, dancers, figure skaters, gymnasts, athletes, and circus people. They wear these as both practice clothes and performance costumes. Leotards are put on through the neck.
The leotard has to allow the gymnast to move as freely as possible in whichever they need to. Another great advantage is that they will be as aerodynamic as possible. Their clothing is not allowed affect their movement in any way therefore, the competition has rules set in place to ensure the dress code is standard and everyone has the same advantages.
Olympic gymnastics team leotards have changed over the years from the original the intention remains covering most parts of the female athletes body while offering easy movement through comfort, designed to breathe, support aerodynamics and flawlessly follow the female athletes bend, comfort and twist their way through increasingly difficult routines.
The uniform for woman which is standard is a leotard for females traditionally included long sleeves and since half-length and sleeveless leotards have now been added to allowed sports dress codes. Sleeveless leotards remain more suitable for practice, while the full-length sleeves are still preferred in podium training sessions.
Leotards are not allowed to be cut too high or be cut too low from the top. In rare situations, gymnasts have experienced score penalties for their bad leotard design. Leotards have to meet requirements like they cannot be cut above the height of a hip, they cannot be cut past the shoulder, the back or the front. If any leotard is see-through, it is also against the rules. Gymnasts cannot use white stockings either.
In the 1980s leotards, they have been made mostly from spandex or lycra. However since the 1990s, leotards have become more extravagant and have allowed a variety of textiles like mesh, velvet, velour, metallic fabrics, shimmering “hologram” fabric and foils. They are also decorated with metallic jewels and rhinestones.
A male gymnastics uniform for competitions wear two items of clothing. These are firstly a singlet that is a leotard that is sleeveless and for the floor and the vault competitions. The gymnasts will wear a pair of shorts over the singlet. But for their other events they wear long pants. These are attached at the bottom of the foot.
Men’s uniforms are usually less decorative than those of the female and are usually earth colors. Singlets usually have one or more of the national team colors, but there are not limitations on design. Shorts and pants are commonly a solid color white, blue, black or red.