While sheer physical talent propels them to the world's greatest stage, these athletes' shining moments wouldn't be complete without the colorful, innovative, and sometimes sparkly uniforms that went with them. Relive over a hundred years of Olympic fashion — and get ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang — with the best stand-out looks of all time.
American figure skaters didn't have the option of of wearing spandex 50 years ago. The fabric wouldn't be invented for a whole decade. Luckily Dick Button secured the gold medal in Saint Moritz, Switzerland, wearing pleated trousers and a thick sweater, and repeated the feat four years later in Oslo, Norway.
Team USA would totally put on these classic sweats today. It doesn't get anymore iconic than red, white, and blue (and gold.) The men's 4X100 meter relay team took first place that year in Tokyo.
Wide collars, plumed hats, polka dots ... The Canadian delegation really went for it in the Parade of Nations at the Summer Games in Munich, West Germany. None of them came in first that year but they definitely scored style points.
Mark Spitz didn't need a cap or goggles to set an Olympic record of seven gold medals in a single games. The only thing he did wear besides a swimsuit was a much . Although other swimmers were already shaving their body hair for competitions, he kept his signature 'stache after a coach in college told him he couldn't grow one.
These powder blue capes and caps look like they came straight out of , but it was another (real) French delegation that sported them first. And no, the heavy layers weren't for the Winter Games, but the summer competition held in Montreal.
The American speed skater's gold suit predicted his groundbreaking performance. While many remember the Lake Placid games for the "Miracle on Ice," Heiden performed a miracle of his own by winning all five of the sport's gold medals, a feat that hasn't been replicated since.
The East German skater liked to push boundaries with her costumes. This sparkly outfit (and tiara!) helped her secure a place at the top for the competition in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia — the first time the games were held in a socialist country.
Katarina Witt's skirtless, feather-trimmed costume for the 1988 Calgary Olympics ruffled the feathers of International Skating Union a little too much. The governing body would implement regulations nicknamed the that required female skaters to wear skirts. The controversy didn't hurt the athlete at the time though; she still skated away with the gold medal.
The black-and-gold number Kristi Yamaguchi wore for her victory in Albertville, France is so iconic that it now to the U.S. Figure Skating Museum in Colorado Springs along with her gold medal.
The took home the gold in event's debut in Lillehammer for her jumps and twists. The epic colorful snowsuit the New Jersey native wore for her turn on the podium definitely pointed to the times.
Vera Wang dreamed up this classic look for the ice princess to wear in Lillehammer, Norway. "This is more pressure than an Oscar dress in a strange way," . She chose the clean lines and geometric aesthetic to make Kerrigan "look tougher." Unfortunately the athlete would only skate to silver in a controversial finish amidst the investigation of Tonya Harding.
The Russian Federation paraded around the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta wearing a modified version of the trademark rings. It was the first time the country competed separately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. They had appeared as a unified team in 1992.
Kerri Strug's stars-and-stripes leotard echoed the costume worn by Mary Lou Retton 12 years before. The teen helped the U.S. to a team all-around gold by famously landing her second vault on an injured ankle.
Sprinter Michael Johnson earned the nickname "The Man With the Golden Shoes" thanks to the metallic racing spikes he wore for the 200 and 400 meter finals. "I just wanted to change it up, and I thought gold would be a good color," at the time. Johnson would later defend his 400 meter final in Sydney wearing shoes with actual 24-karat gold woven into the fabric.
She ultimately lost out to fellow American Tara Lipinski, but Michelle Kwan's streamlined, minimalist costumes by Vera Wang really broke out of the mold. "I preferred a simple, elegant look," . "I didn't want to distract the beauty of what was on the ice."
Japan arrived at the first games of the new millennium in style, breaking with past years' more subdued outfits in lieu of rainbow capes. The outfits intended to reflect the "Aussies' carefree nature and the city's deep blue sky," the project supervisor told the .
After decades of tiny, nylon suits, Speedo introduced the revolutionary Fastskin at the Sydney Olympics. The new material modeled after shark skin covered many swimmers from wrist to ankle, including Australian champion Ian Thorpe. The sport's governing body would go on to ban full-body suits in 2010 to refocus the sport on physical performances.
Japan turned heads yet again in Athens, Greece, with floral ensembles paired with colorful fans. Those probably came in handy in the hot Mediterranean weather.
Synchronized swimming is positively full of gorgeous costumes, but these sparkly designs featuring the Queen of Hearts stood out in the pairs competition. Canadians Fanny Letourneau and Courtenay Stewart didn't win any hardware but they still looked like royalty.
The American individual all-around gold medalist skipped the traditional red, white, and blue in favor of a bejeweled hot-pink leotard. She didn't keep it however; the costume now belongs to the .
You could always count on the American figure skater to turn up in something exciting, and the Vancouver competition was no exception. Besides a future successful career in commentating, he would also go on to for a gold medal winner in Sochi.
Shaun White the "Flying Tomato" took home gold in the halfpipe wearing Burton snow pants made to look like baggy distressed jeans and a jacket in a wide plaid. The company's creative director dubbed the snowboarding team's look the
The Southeast Asian country went with bold orange and yellow for the opening ceremony in London. Flag bearer Pandelela Rinong would make history by becoming the first Malaysian female athlete to win an Olympic medal.
Brazil's Lara Teixeira and Nayara Figueira's costumes were the opposite of skin-deep. The front showed a heart and veins, the back had ribs, and their caps were brains!
If you think artistic gymnasts' leotards are flashy, just wait until you start watching rhythmic gymnastics. Aliya Garayeva of Azerbaijan competed in neon and sparkles during the individual all-around in London.
Despite over whether their rainbow threads were a subtle protest against host nation Russia, the German federation insisted the colorful coats were not political in any way. You could spot them from a mile off though.
Every four years, Norway turns up to the Winter Games with the most colorful pants around. After harlequin print and modernist squares in Sochi, will feature a pattern that resembles splattered paint.
Inspired by their uniforms at the 1924 Paris Olympics, the Australians attended the Opening Ceremony in Rio wearing and white shorts. The small print looked a little psychedelic on TV.
The real star of the Rio Opening Ceremony had to be Pita Taufatofua, who went viral for his oiled-up shirtless torso. The taekwondo athlete is now set to compete in PyeongChang after .