Bejewelled leotards most expensive Olympic uniforms ever

Written By:  •  Thursday, August 11, 2016

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The USA women’s “Final Five” gymnastics team won gold in Rio, but it was the glitter coming from their uniforms that turned some observers’ heads. According to CNN Money, the leotards were bedazzled with as many as 5,000 Austrian Swarovski crystals embedded in the high-tech fabric with the help of a machine with robot arms, and cost upwards of $1,200, making them the most expensive Olympic uniforms ever.

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The sparkly leotards were created, as they have been since 1996, by GK Elite Sportswear in partnership with Under Armour. GK Elite Sportswear, based in Reading, Pennsylvania (most noted for being home to the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils), also created uniforms for Olympic gymnasts from New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Russia.

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 4

Kelly McKeown of GK Elite, quoted on CNN, said that they went all out with this year’s design to honor retiring coach Martha Karolyi, who has been with the team for 44 years.

While the team gymnastics competition is over, individual events are on the docket through Sunday, so there’s still time to see some of America’s most talented and most sparkly athletes in action.



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Paul Caputo

Paul Caputo is a grown man who collects plastic ice cream helmet sundaes from minor league baseball stadiums because he likes logos that much. He is the author of the Story Behind the Nickname Series on this website and can be found on Twitter at @Count2Baseball. He maintains the Countdown to Spring Training on Facebook.