The leotard is clothing designed from the nineteenth century by a French acrobat from whom the name was adopted. He replaced the old, full-bodied, sleeveless suit that covered both the legs and the entire torso and was intended to show the individual’s muscles. Subsequently, it was introduced into the circus for acrobats and gymnasts within any discipline of this nature because it allows all kinds of movements. With modifications, it was adapted to another discipline that needs freedom of action such as dance.
So the leotard is any tight garment that is used to cover the chest so that it emphasizes the torso, pubis and buttocks. It may or may not have sleeves, and this will depend on each particular design, but what everyone will agree on is that it extends to the thighs, so as for the cut, it can resemble what is known as the swimsuit.
It is mostly used for certain activities that need great freedom of movements such as dance, acrobatics or gymnastics, as we mentioned earlier. It usually fulfils a triple function that consists of sheltering the torso, showing the muscles of the individual and sustaining the pressure in the waist In Spain, leggings that are used for the legs are also called leotards; usually, they are sheltered and mark the contour.
In general, the leotard is made of nylon, cotton, and a combination of materials with colours that depending on the specific discipline will indicate the country, or the level of education, for example.
The practice of all kinds of gymnastics leads us to remember the past, wherein Greece it was taught to practice it through military training, but it has evolved into modern times. At first, only men acted, but subsequently, women were allowed to participate in all types of disciplines.
For this reason, it is essential to know what has been the evolution of the leotards destined to do gymnastics, so, in this article, you will see how the leotard has evolved in the practice of gymnastics. We can distinguish different stages:
– First decades of the twentieth century: the chosen clothes have to cover everything possible, yes, without hindering the movements of gymnasts. In this way, the tights were used under suits with shorts and polo pants. Until finally, the use of leotard occurs as such. But without being the leotards, we currently have.
-1912: the uniforms related to the leotards were under a suit with skirts with a height that reached the knees, so in those times they were classified as vulgar to the female gymnasts. even many countries decided not to participate in specific disciplines such as swimming because suits were considered immoral.
– First World War: priority was given to garments that gave women greater freedom of movement so that the leotards acquired more importance in the practice of exercise. both for men and women without distinction of sports activities to participate.
-1920: the material of the leotards makes the manufacture of swimsuits more and more agile. It allows women greater freedom of movement to swim or do the appropriate exercises in each of the disciples to compete. Of course, another thing to note is that these leotards were under suits where necklines, sleeves and skirts were more typical. The uniforms with the flag of each country began to generalize.
– World War II: the leotards of men and women were similar. New materials are introduced to improve elasticity, and it is achieved that the best brands of sportswear dress Olympic athletes without problems.
-1959: the spandex is discovered, which meant a massive revolution in this type of clothing. They were already dressed in the tightest suits and with brighter colours to get more attention. In 1964. the trend was long sleeves, different legs and a very unusual shot to those seen to date. The design that stood out was the colours of each of the flags of the corresponding country.
– The 70s and 80s: the leotard extends to other disciplines that have to do with the clothing that athletes use, although later they will be displaced by other types of pants such as lycra-made pants. The new designs that are accompanied by more colours and brightness began to be implemented. The silhouettes of the leotards outline the body of the athletes to guarantee the flexibility of movements in all cases.
– Years 2000 and up: jeggings replace lycra pants, but it has the same objective as leotards, with the difference that they are used by other athletes such as cyclists or athletes in both amateur and official sports competitions. The designers continue to add significant improvements so as not to prevent movement in the tights. A new, more tight garment was created that further facilitates the freedom of movement of athletes, whether men or women. Patriotic symbols without a key to the design of these suits.
– 2016: the athletes’ uniform is becoming more and more similar to those of other shows, in every way. Participants can have a hand in the design so that they are left with the colours of their country. but also to their taste.
With these types of suits, they are tighter, and it has meant a considerable advance in the abilities that gymnasts have to do the corresponding exercises, yes, without neglecting the exterior design that is where the highlights stand out.
So despite the evolution of the leotards that gymnasts use, the important thing is the ability of people to continue to impress the spectators who wear the best costumes to perform their work.
In this evolution, it has had a lot to do with the possibility that athletes had to do their movements in the best possible way since it is essential that the clothing does not interfere in each of the exercises that gymnasts have to do in each corresponding discipline.
Therefore, if we stay in gymnastics in all its disciplines, the evolution of the tights is summarized in covering the body, adding sleeves or not, but yes, removing the part that covers the thighs in the case of females, because for men they do. It will also be presented when doing the exercise in each competition. so they will wear costumes that are currently something similar to a typical tracksuit with the design based on the country they represent