Why are gymnastics leotards so sparkly?

The Sparkly Evolution of Gymnastics Style

The gymnast's evolution has always been one of the most fascinating things about this sport, and it is amazing how much change has happened in such a short amount of time. Gymnastics style continued to evolve as new skills were created or trends took over on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. From tight turns to multiple flying elements, "Sputnik" difficulty levels, and tiny handrails gymnasts continue to impress with their ability not just at performing extraordinary tricks but for adapting them into a cohesive routine that packs more punch than ever before: all while wearing sparkly leotards. 

The Russian school of gymnastics has always been known for its strong and elegant style, so it is not surprising that they were the ones to take the first leap into a completely new direction in gymnastics. The Russians had already created the first flying element, a back handspring onto the balance beam, and in 1958 this skill was combined with an Arabian double front somersault and called a "double salt". This was the first time that two elements were performed together in one skill. The next year saw another move towards more difficult skills as three of these double Aalto's were performed consecutively by Irina Titova at a World Cup competition. Not long after this, Larisa Latynina performed her signature routine at the 1960 Olympic Games. Her routine was filled with new skills such as handstands on all four apparatuses, multiple forward and backward flips on the balance beam, back handsprings off of vaulting tables, and most notably: a double back somersault from table to the floor.

sparkly leotards

 When did gymnastics leotards get so dang sparkly?

 The gymnastics leotards began to get more and more sparkly as the years went on. The very first gymnastics leotards were made from white cotton and were very plain in appearance. The first leotards were considered "an evolution from underwear," and they had sleeves with buttons down the front. The leotards got their first major makeover in 1912 when the sleeveless style was introduced. These new sleeveless leotards were made from silk and featured a high-neck collar that came to a point at the chest. The black gymnastics leotards with white ruffled collars we see worn today began to make an appearance around this time as well, but these remained an optional style for many years. Although styles have changed a lot since then, one thing has remained constant: gymnasts will always wear some form of sparkly clothing even if it is just their shoes or a pair of tights! 

Fascinating Facts About Team USA's Sparkly Gymnastics Leotards:

1.Team USA's leotards are designed by Nike.

2.The leotards are made from a special fabric that is designed to be lightweight and stretchy.

3.Each leotard has about 40 Swarovski crystals sewn on it, which take about 3-4 hours to put on each leotard by hand.

4.The first Team USA leotards were made from underwear in 1868, so they've come a long way!

5.The current design of the team's red, white, and blue leotards was created in 1984 by legendary designer Vera Wang. 

The world of gymnastics is filled with many amazing athletes, coaches, and judges. These people have made a lasting impact on the sport, and have helped to shape it into what it is today. 

This is a list of some of the most influential people in gymnastics history:

Martha Hill - Martha Hill was born on March 11, 1868, in Chicago. She was an American educator and one of the best-known members of the American gymnastic team at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. She served as one of two team leaders for American women at those games (the other being her husband). She served as head coach for women's gymnastics at Smith College from 1893 to 1922. In 1928 she became head coach for women's gymnastics at Yale University, where she stayed until 1946. In 1948 she became head coach for women's gymnastics at Stanford University where she stayed until 1955 when she retired from coaching and went into administration as an executive secretary to Stanford's president until her retirement in 1961. She passed away on July 7, 1971, in Palo Alto, California at the age of 93.

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