Plus, you'll never guess the amount of crystals

By Brittany Talarico
August 04, 2016 02:43 PM
Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty

As they compete for gold in Rio, the U.S. Olympic gymnasts will be outfitted in lots of sparkle. This year’s competition leotards are covered in almost 5,000 Swarovski crystals, according to a breakdown by The New York Times. That’s four times the crystals that were worn by the 2012 Olympic team.

The NYT reports that Gabby Douglas’ 2012 leotard was bedazzled with 1,188 Swarovski stones, and at the 2008 Summer Olympic games, Nastia Liukin’s competition suit featured only 184 crystals.

GK Elite, the company who designs Team USA’s looks, continues to push the boundaries when creating the high-performance, high-sparkle designs.

“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, told the Times. “We may have hit peak crystal.”

Thanks to the “peak” amount of crystal, the custom creations retail on average for $1,200.  (GK Elite even makes some “couture” designs covered in 50,000 crystals, but these don’t comply with competition regulations.)

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It’s no doubt that all eyes will be on the “Fierce 5” as they compete in the Olympics, and their leotards definitely play an important part in their routines.

Just ask 2008 Olympic Individual All-Around Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin, who told PeopleStyle that before the games the members  of Team USA have to model their leotards to for Coach Marta Karolyi.

“Before every competition we do a little fashion show in the hotel or the [Olympic] Village and it’s with Marta and all of our coaches. We all have to try on the same leotard and we march down the hallways as if it’s a runway and that’s how we figure out which leotard we’re wearing for the team competition,” she shares.  “Then we do it for the individual competitions so they see what looks best and what we feel most confident in.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Simone Biles’ 18 Best Leotard Moments

For the individual events, each gymnast gets to pick her own look.

Alex Livesey/Getty
Alex Livesey/Getty

“You will always have the American flag on your sleeve but this is where you can show your personality a little bit more,” Liukin shared. “You can’t have weird low-cut in the front or anything like that. But beyond the actual like design and the colors, there are no real rules. Pink was my favorite color, so that’s why I wore it. You definitely want to feel confident in the way you look because when you’re on the balance beam, confidence is the most important thing.”
Will you be cheering on the fierce five? 

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