The leotards U.S. gymnasts wearing in Rio are not cheap

Fourth-Place Medal
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1112764/" data-ylk="slk:Simone Biles">Simone Biles</a> (AP)
Simone Biles (AP)

Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team is getting its Deion Sanders on in Rio. Those leotards “The Final Five” are wearing during the Olympics are eye-catching. So is the price tag on them.

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The New York Times reported that the leotards worn by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team have 5,000 Swarovski crystals each. That’s more than four times as many crystals as the 2012 leotards (those had 1,188, The Times said), and more than 27 times as many as the leotards in 2008 (a paltry 184).

“It’s difficult for me to imagine how we could get more crystals on,” Kelly McKeown, executive vice president for design and corporate relations at GK Elite, the official outfitter of the American national gymnastics team, told The Times.

All those crystals aren’t cheap.

The Times said that each gymnast gets 20 leotards — eight for competition and 12 for training. If the competition leotards were on the rack at your local clothing store (because who doesn’t need a gymnastics leotard or two in their closet?), they would cost about $1,200 each according to The Times.

[Photos: U.S. women’s gymnastics team wins Rio Olympic gold]

Part of the sparkle is for fashion, but it might serve a competitive function as well. The Times said that all the bling “helps highlight and distinguish each girl” during competition.

“When the judges are there, every little thing counts,” Samantha Peszek, a member of the United States’ 2008 Olympic gymnastics team, told The Times.

And of course the crystal companies want to keep up. The Times said this fall Swarovski will introduce a new crystal product, Concise Crystal, that is 50 percent lighter. They’ve developed new machinery from the computer-chip industry to get as many stones on the outfits as possible, in brand new designs.

So adjust your television sets. By 2020, the U.S. gymnastics team might try to set a new record for crystals on their leotards. They’ve set the bar high in Rio.

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