Olympic Attire Through the Ages
While the years since 1912 saw women’s swimsuits become far more revealing (as you can see in the picture of gold medalist Janet Evans, above left, in 1992), these days competitive suits look very similar to the way they did in the early part of the 20th century. But don’t let the olde tyme look fool you—the polyurethane outfits are high-tech and allow swimmers to move through the water at faster speeds than ever before, which has recently lead to a large number of new world speed records. The controversial new outfits are opposed by several prominent swimmers, including Michael Phelps, who wore a non-polyurethane version when he won eight gold medals in 2008. Since then, FINA, the governing body of competitive swimming, has instituted various regulations regarding suits’ lengths and materials in order to not give swimmers who choose to wear them (and who can afford the $500-$800 price tags) unfair advantages. Photo credits: AP/Getty via CNN and http://www.swimcoachtools.com.