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Evolution of rhythmic gymnastics leotard

Rhythmic gymnastics leotard is one of the most important elements of a gymnast's style. It helps gymnast to be confident and express herself on the carpet.


Currently, rhythmic gymnastics leotards are typically real masterpieces. Sometimes it seems that all possible models of rhythmic gymnastics leotards were already invented and created. But experts in this area still manage to surprise gymnasts, their coaches, and of course the audience. However, rhythmic gymnastics leotards were not always so sophisticated.


At the end of the 1980s, the leotards were black long-sleeved maillots. Sometimes different colors were used but the number of colors allowed was quite limited. Styles were the same for everyone.


Irina Deriugina, 1981


Only after 1984 when rhythmic gymnastics was added to the Olympic Games program new colors appeared in the leotards, but the models were still the same. Also, there were no decorations at the leotards yet.


Alexandra Timoshenko, 1992


Rhythmic gymnastics overalls were officially allowed to be used in international competitions in 1993. It was a great way to engage more gymnasts from Islam countries in rhythmic gymnastics. However, overalls became popular also for other countries' sportsmen and they still stay popular nowadays.


Yana Batyrshina, 1996


A huge leap has happened in rhythmic gymnastics leotard's evolution during Olympic Games 2000 in Sydney. Body-color mesh has been taken into use. It created the effect of drawing right straight at the gymnast's skin. At the same time, rhinestones started to be used at the leotards.


Alina Kabaeva, 2000


In 2001 according to Irina Viner-Usmnova's (head coach of the Russian national team, president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation) initiative gymnasts have started to compete in leotards with skirts. Skirts were supposed to be standard and symmetric. Only after a few years, it was allowed to use asymmetric skirts made up from a few pieces of different fabrics.


Alina Kabaeva, 2001


The number of rhinestones at leotards was growing constantly.


Evgeniya Kanaeva, 2012


First rhythmic gymnastics leotards without sleeves started to be used in 2013.


Margarita Mamun, 2013


Already in 2016, the numbers of rhinestones at rhythmic gymnastics leotards could reach up to 6000 pieces.


Yana Kudryavtseva, 2016


Nowadays hair decorations and tights decorated with rhinestones are popular as well. Gymnast's style is made from all these elements and it is an integral part of a gymnast's program. Russia is a certain leader and trendsetter in rhythmic gymnastics for many years.


Arina Averina, 2021


However, comfort is still the most important factor in gymnast's style creation. It allows showing her skills and strength to a full extent.


Lala Kramarenko, 2021


The level of difficulty and experience in rhythmic gymnastics leotards creation is growing constantly. The trends are changing rapidly. But exactly thanks to these facts it is extremely interesting to follow the evolution of rhythmic gymnastics leotards design.

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