Do you shudder at the idea of watching men contort their bodies in the gymnastics competitions? Could you care less about women sprinting within an inch of their lives in the 400-meter dash? Then perhaps you should watch the Olympics not for the sports, but for the history-making fashion.
Famed Olympic swimmer and quintessential bro Ryan Lochte made headlines for wearing grills to the Olympics on more than one occasion. Michael Johnson’s gold sneakers from 1996 inspired a Nike collaboration 20 years later and Sanya Richards-Ross’ gold Chanel earrings at the 2012 Olympics perfectly matched her gold medal. These athletes are just three who have made history with their fashion choices at Olympics past. Find out which other Olympians won fashion gold via their sartorial choices below.
1988: Florence Griffith Joyner’s nailsGetty Images
The late Florence Griffith Joyner, nicknamed Flo-Jo, was the fastest woman in the world and one of the most stylish Olympic athletes of all time. Flo-Jo was famous for standing out via her fearlessly fashionable racing outfits and her long, decorated nails.
1992: The Dream Team’s jerseys
Team USA’s 1992 lineup for men’s basketball consisted of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Laone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, David Robinson, Charkles Barkley, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner. The assemblage became known as The Dream Team, and the men’s skills on the court in Barcelona were as recognized as their now-iconic Dream Team jerseys.
1996: Michael Johnson’s shoesGetty Images
Michael Johnson’s memorable gold shoes first made their debut at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Johnson debuted a newer version of the shoes four years later and that time around, they had 24-carat gold woven in them. Johnson collaborated with Nike on a special collection of sneakers, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33 “Michael Johnson” sneaks, to be released on August 17.
2000: Cathy Freeman’s aerodynamic suitGetty Images
Cathy Freeman won gold at the 2000 Olympics after slaying the 400-meter dash. She sparked conversation with her green aerodynamic suit and wore a silver version to light the Olympic Flame that same year.
2008: Ryan Lochte’s grillGetty Images
Ryan Lochte, who once described his design style as “a mixture between rock star slash hip-hop,” wore grills more than once at past Olympics. Lochte wore grills at the 2008 games and debuted an American flag-themed set at the 2012 Olympics. He later said this grill had been stolen and that he replaced it with a black diamond grill.
2010: Johnny Weir’s skating ensembleGetty Images
Johnny Weir is known for his flashy skating ensembles and personal flair. He designed gold medal winner Yuzuru Hanyu’s costume at the 2014 Olympics, and is known to serve fashion slay on his Instagram.
2012: The Fierce Five’s leotardsGetty Images
The Fierce Five, consisting of Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas, caught eyes at the 2012 Olympics for their gymnastic prowess. They also garnered attention for their decorated (and fierce) leotards.
2012: Sanya Richards-Ross’ Chanel earringsGetty Images
Sanya Richards-Ross won gold at the 2012 Olympics in the 400-meter dash. Not only was the medal a symbol of her triumph, it was the perfect accessory to match her gold Chanel earrings.
2014: Aliona Savchenko’s Pink Panther bodysuitGetty Images
Aliona Savchenko’s bright pink ensemble at the 2014 Sochi Olympics turned major heads. It was an intentionally fitting look, as Savchenko and her partner danced on ice to the Pink Panther theme song.
2016: Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniformsGetty Images
Ralph Lauren has been designing the official Team USA Olympic uniforms since 2008. This year’s crisp ensemble included white pants, a red, white and blue t-shirt and a navy blazer with the famous Polo logo on the left breast.
Hear VH1 staffers talk about Team USA’s most memorable fashion moments from Olympics past in the video below.