Saturday, November 29, 2008

And the least offensive leo award goes to....

We have had a lot to say about leotard fashion crimes over the years.  I know The Couch Gymnast has had plenty to say in a short time.  But it's hard to ignore the atrocities we are subjected to at each and every competition we see.  There is hardly a country that hasn't offended in some way, wether it be through the crimes of cut, colour or pattern.  They always find a way. 

Some, as we have discussed before, are total repeat offenders, consistently pulling out the no-holds-barred ugly stops on us. Countries like Spain, Germany and Ukraine do it again and again and again.

(Left-Oksy and crew.  Germany needs to ignore its flag and forge a new path, away from this monstrous, unflattering combination of vomity orangey-red, black and white and yellow.  It does no good to no one.  Centre-Spain, what to say? Melodie Pulgarin gives us a front of one of their spectacular attempts at out-uglying themselves in 2007. Right- Zgoba showing the Ukraine talent for multi-tasking.  Compete at worlds by day, pull on a mini and some heels and they'll let you intp any nightclub in downtown Kiev by night.)

Some countries commit the crime of dullness, constantly looking a bit same same, producing variations on the usual colour/design scheme that we have been saturated with over the years.  Countries like Korea, Brazil, U.S.A and China (USA did break out with the hot pink this time round though.  Kudos for livening it up a bit) just keep the same old, same old coming.  It's hard to get excited.  

(What?  The U.S.A will be wearing blue, red and white you say? And China will be in red and yellow?  As we say in Australia with all due sarcasm.  Shock. Bloody.  Horror.)

Other countries like Romania and Russia generally do a decent job, then all of a sudden, wham, out of nowhere a horrifying spectacle of ugliness is produced for some gymnastic event. 

(Holy flaming sequinned stocking fabric- that is u-g-l-y! Poor Zammo.  As if her life hasn't been hard enough)

Then there are others like Australia that just can't seem to fix on a theme and stay there.  And as a result, wind up mystifying and horrifying us in many and varied ways over the years.

(Australia can't decide wether to embrace it's national themes or  play on the teeny girls theme.  I vote go national if it keeps us far from the hot pink pot)

So i got to thinking about wether there is actually a country that nearly always pulls out a good leo? (well even a decent leo would do)  I used to think it was Hungary.  It helps that I think red, green and white are a lovely colour scheme for sports.  And they had some cute designs in the eighties and early nineties.

But then they had to go and decide they are over the National flag colours some time near the end of the nineties and start pulling this mind-bogglingly boring style out.


I've been thinking about this leotard problem a lot (as you can probably imagine) and I have been trying to figure out which country most consistently pulls out the better leotards. I am not asking for much here.  I know steady good behavior is beyond any country we have seen (particularly in the eastern part of europe) yet.  All I am asking for is just one country that never hurt us too badly.  After a lot of careful thinking, and by employing some strict guidelines, I have conducted my own personal search for a favored leo-toting country

Here are the rules that guided my search for the least ugly leotard collection:

1. They must not have had one single leotard that can be described as a heinous fashion crime.(See Example 1 below)
2. There must never, ever have been a collar involved (a high neck i will accept, just, but only because i would have to rule out nearly every single country if i didn't).
3. They must have had varied styles of leotards over the years- not just one safe style.
4. The cut must have generally flattered the gymnasts (i.e no high necks, super-shiny fabric, transparent stocking patches, false cleavages or sleeveless leos) (these are my rules.  Make up your own if you don't like them) (See example Two)
5. No velvet (i can't stand those velvety looking ones (remember this is my own personal fashion odyssey. You are quite welcome to ADORE velveteen leos. In fact you can cartwheel down main street in a fluorescent purple and pink one if you so wish. Just not on my watch.) (See example Three)
6. They must have employed some sort of feature, not just block colors (that would be too easy to win in the inoffensive stakes).
7. Both individual gymnasts leotard choices and team choices must be consistently tolerable. One gymnast can mess up a whole nation of gymnast's sartorial record, just like one fall can lose them the  gold in  team finals.  
8. No leotard must not ever  sting the eyes on viewing nor ride up excessively in nethers of poor leotard sporting gymnast-therefore stinging our eyes in other ways (see example Four).
9. Above all, they must attempt to be individual, attractive and interesting.
10. It must not EVER break four or more of these rules at the same time. (see example Five)

(Example One.  You only have to see half of Kaeslin's leo to know it gonna fit right into the heinous box.  It's a khaki butterfly/evil mask design with a mismatching swiss red-on-white emblem smooshed on top for Pete's sake!)

(Example Two.  I am just not sure why it is necessary for us to have this window into Cata's torso region?  It's hardly an enlightening experience.  Am I missing something I'm supposed to see?  Her soul, perhaps?)

(Example Three. Velvet look and fake cleavage.  A world of wrong.

(Example Four.  This leo definitely counts as a nethers rider)

(Example Five. Adela Sajn of Slovenia is the perpetrator burning our eyes with this particular atrocity.  I hope it was just her and not all of her team mates.  Yep, she's breaking all the rules -and it isn't cool.)

ANYWAY, after careful thought, and much internet google image searching, The Couch Gymnasts has decided that.......

The least offensive leotard award goes to...

And Here's Why!

(Patriotic, plain and as pretty as they come.  One of my all time favorites)

(Gorgeous, a bit old-school and goes on with the swirly ribbon theme that tends to run through the Japanese leo choices.)

(Very pretty choice for Beijing.  Similar to China but more delicate and less garish.  The white softens it and again, they use the nearly always lovely botanical theme.)

(Cute, different and very, very Japanese)

(classic, inoffensive, plain yet detailed)

(Cute, interesting, daring, but not too ugly colour scheme)

(This is one of those leos that, from a distance looks dull, but the closer you get, the more you appreciate the detail and the unusual but lovely colour combinations.  I could live without the horrid high neck,but i love, love, love the leaf/fan things  across the torso.)

( This one is so eighties and i am a sucker for the old eighties geometric.  Good colour combo and I like the way it works out from the blue sleeve)

(More nice colors and swirly effects)

(This one I can't find a good shot of but its a winner.  The fade from white to blue is gorgeous, and the pink swirls are in fact a gorgeous flower design stretched across the torso)

(This is probably my least favorite. But this is why they win. It's my least favorite not because its ugly, but just because its not as interesting or pretty as the others. It doesn't offend anyone though and that is what is important in this test.)


  1. this post is full of win

    i LOVED japans beijing leos. i wanted koko tsurumi to win beam just so i could see that thing on the podium

  2. Oooh I love Japan's leos! They are always simple yet very elegant. Though I often wonder if a more bold leo helps gymnasts with confidence. Japan's girls often seem quite timid.
    In the "bad" leos category, Italy has had some horrendous leos recently mostly sported on Vanessa Ferrari. This one from the Beijing AA finals on Ferrari featuring a bit too much sheer-ness. Showing what I am assuming is athletic tape to support her back AND armpit stains! Icky!
    Lia Parolari also wore sheer white in the AA, displaying her entire skeleton...I mean...
    and this one is just plain awful.

  3. I agree, China always has the same leotart (except for the 2003 world Team finl, but I didn't like those.) Love the posts:) Keep them comming!

  4. i would like to know what you tought, in your long search for nice leo's, about Canada's leos over the years??


  5. Agreed the first people mentioned in this post have pretty bad leos pretty consistently. But can I just say how fracking gorgeous Ukraine's leo was in Beijing for team qualifications? That gorgeous dark blue and white piece of awesome just had me drooling!

  6. Were did Adela get that leo??? Who is making leos like that?????

  7. Another style option you have is what kind of back you want on your Leotards. The classic tank top style is popular but you can also have a sloped or t-back. All of these styles are appropriate for either practice or show time. When choosing back style, you simply want to pick one that you like and feels comfortable.