The Best Beauty Moments in Olympics History

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From breaking records to inspiring a sense of global kinship even in the darkest moments of our shared history, Olympians continue to represent the sheer power of human determination against all odds.

Every four years, the world tunes in to see feats of athletic prowess along with the fashion-forward roster of team uniforms. With brands like Telfar and Ralph Lauren taking the lead on country uniforms, the Olympics have become an international runway where designers flex their abilities to not only create looks that move with ease but also shed light on national identity and culture.

Yet the beauty looks of each athlete are worth a pedestal of their own. Whether its bold lips and bedazzled cheeks or more subtle beauty signatures like a delicate, matching scrunchie, the choices Olympians make often go beyond serving a pretty face. They represent confidence, breaking down stereotypes, and most importantly, hope—for a future in which individual expression is celebrated.

Now that the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games are in full swing, what better time than to revisit some of the best beauty moments shown on the world stage.

<h1 class="title">Olympian Wilma Rudolph</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Olympian Wilma Rudolph

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Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph built up a reputation for wearing a pixie during her running years. Flattering and efficient, the haircut not only beautifully framed her face but it came to represent a female athlete liberated from beauty standards that have historically placed more emphasis on looks than performance.

<h1 class="title">OLY-WINTER-1968-FIGURE SKATING-FLEMING</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

OLY-WINTER-1968-FIGURE SKATING-FLEMING

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Peggy Fleming

Peggy Fleming brought trendy mod to the rink. Her best look might be the thigh-skimming green dress and slick bob she wore to the 1968 games in Grenoble. While this look excels with jumps and dazzling turns mid-air, it could have just as easily worked in the streets of New York or London, signifying a cultural reading of the fashion at that time.

<h1 class="title">1988 Summer Olympic Games</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

1988 Summer Olympic Games

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Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner, known affectionately as FloJo, made a name for herself on the track but also in the beauty world thanks to her flowing hair and bright, long nails that she made sure to wear meet after meet. Her choices were unapologetic, signaling the indisputable place of beauty that is bold, graphic, and commands attention.

<h1 class="title">Kristi Yamaguchi from the United States smiles as</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Kristi Yamaguchi from the United States smiles as

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Kristi Yamaguchi

Ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi put on a brightly colored face when executing some of the most technically difficult routines. Checking off nearly every eighties beauty trend at the 1992 Olympics—bright blush to match perfectly pink lips and nails along with teased out bangs—Yamaguchi was an all-American dream and an inspiration to young athletes hoping to one day compete on the world stage.

<h1 class="title">1992 Olympics</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

1992 Olympics

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Nancy Kerrigan

Ice skater Nancy Kerrigan's snow white ensemble at the 1992 Winter Olympics was such a favorite, the matching outfit-scrunchie look was dubbed “the Kerrigan.”

<h1 class="title">OLY-2012-TENNIS-USA-CZE-RUS</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

OLY-2012-TENNIS-USA-CZE-RUS

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Venus and Serena Williams

The Williams sisters have been turning looks with their hair since they were kids, proving that a beaded braid perfectly complements a winning serve. Over the years, Venus and Serena have broken down barriers when it comes hairstyles deemed acceptable at the Olympics, which continues to be a topic of debate. The pair took home gold at 2012’s London Olympics, Venus with patriotic braids and Serena with her curls on full display.

<h1 class="title">Olympics Day 15 - Athletics</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Olympics Day 15 - Athletics

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DeeDee Trotter

Sprinter DeeDee Trotter wore bedazzled art reading “USA” in the flag's colors on her cheek at the 2012 London Olympics. There's often always a hidden message in a beauty look, but sometimes you have to forgo the subliminal to make sure you got your message across.

<h1 class="title">Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 10</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 10

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Laurie Hernandez

A red lip will forever project boldness and confidence. At the 2016 Olympics, gymnast Laurie Hernandez's choice of lipstick commanded the spotlight as she made her way towards gold as one of the Final Five in the 2016 Olympics.

<h1 class="title">Medal Ceremony - Winter Olympics Day 4</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Medal Ceremony - Winter Olympics Day 4

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Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim turned heads not just by being the youngest woman to win gold for snowboarding at 17, but for her signature blonde hair.

<h1 class="title">Tennis - Olympics: Day 3</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Tennis - Olympics: Day 3

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Naomi Osaka

With the pressure that comes from representing a country on the verge of a more inclusive national identity as well having to step away to tend to her mental health needs, tennis star Naomi Osaka entered this year's Olympics with vibrant red braids that brought to mind the image of a phoenix risen.

Originally Appeared on Vogue