2022 Olympics

Swiss skier Vreni Schneider (C), flanked by compatriot Maria Walliser (R) and West German Christa Ki...
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A Look At How Olympic Skiing Uniforms Have Changed Over The Past Century

Bring on the bodysuit.

Skiing at the Olympics has been around since 1936 when the games took place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. But a lot has changed since those inaugural runs. Just peep these Olympic skiing uniforms through the years for proof.

Speed and agility have always been hallmarks of a good race, but what’s evolved is the clothing skiers wear to move down the mountains. Sure, warmth has always been paramount, even in vintage Olympic skiing costumes, but materials and design have changed dramatically in the 85 years the sport has captured Olympic audiences attention.

To start, moisture resistant fabrics have come a long way since the 1930s, a real boon to alpine athletes. In addition, poly blends have given skiers greater freedom of movement to shred records and reach for the gold. Gaze upon the wild and wonderful history of olympic skiing costumes through the years to see how far skiing and ski technology has come.

1936 Olympics

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The sport of skiing made it’s debut in at the 1936 Olympics, but those games are remembered for a far more lasting legacy on the world: they took place in Nazi Germany. In fact, during the opening ceremonies, the Olympic torch was carried past rows of Hitler Youth, National Geographic reports. Downhill racing began against this backdrop.

1948 Olympics

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It doesn’t get much more vintage Olympic skiing costumes than this. By 1948, WWII was over and the world was in a state of healing. The Winter Games moved to St. Moritz and France’s Henri Oreiller became a star winning three gold medals, reports NBC. Wearing loose fitting pants and a snug sweater.

1952 Olympics

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In Oslo in 1952, the dashing Norwegian Stein Eriksen became the first person to earn a gold in the inaugural giant slalom. Again loose pants and a sweatshirt like garment over a turtleneck was his uniform of choice.

1956 Olympics

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At age 24, Madeleine Berthod of Switzerland took gold at the Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy Olympics when she raced in the women's downhill event. Her outfit echoes Eriksens, with loose pants and a thick sweater with lace up ski boots.

1960 Olympics

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Squaw Valley, California, brought the Olympics to the states at the dawn of the 1960s and with it evolving fashions. The sport appeared to get wise to potential head injuries and accidents and Germany’s Heidi Biebl wore a tight fitting helmet for her race down the hill.

1964 Olympics

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In 1964, in a first, sisters Marielle and Christine Goitschel of France went one and two in an individual Olympic event. The darling duo coasted down the hill in thick sweatshirt like garments with cozy turtlenecks underneath.

1968 Olympics

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In 1968 the Olympics arrived in Grenoble, France, and that’s where homeland hero Jean-Claude Killy won all three men’s gold medals in downhill, giant slalom, slalom, NBC reports. Here he sports a full body zip up race suit which surely helped him glide easily down the hill.

1972 Olympics

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Most likely due to recognizing the need to stand out on the white snow for television cameras, ski suits got a bit more busy in the 1970s. Here silver medalist Annemarie Moser-Proell makes a statement in a jazzy candy cane striped bodysuit.

1976 Olympics

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This photo is important for more than the fact that skier Hanni Wenzel is rocking a sweet ‘70s ski suit with a matching red and blue cap. It’s also the very first time Lichtenstein won an Olympic medal. Wenzel took home bronze for the slalom, Britannica reports.

1980 Olympics

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The Olympics returned to Lake Placid, New York, in 1980, and there Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark reigned supreme sweeping the men’s technical events. The history of Olympic skiing costumes was also made in this blue and yellow ski suit with added padding at the knees.

1984 Olympics

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Identical twins (and heroes of this author’s hometown of Yakima, Washington) came in one and two at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. With their matching faces and matching suits, it likely confused race officials. Hard to tell them apart in their twinning white ski suits with shin protection in red.

1988 Olympics

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In true 1980s fashion, bold and bright colors took hold of the skiing uniforms at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Here double gold medalist Swiss Vreni Schneider (center) celebrates her win in a yellow and orange onesie.

1992 Olympics

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Head protection became paramount in the early ‘90s of downhill skiing. You can see that firsthand in this photo of Hilary Lindh, the American who took home silver that year.

1994 Olympics

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Picabo Street, the American phenom, channeled Spider-Man in 1994 in her skiing body suit. The look was very much the style that year and marked a shift to clothing that avoided wind resistance.

1998 Olympics

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In 1998 the Olympic Winter Games headed to Nagano, Japan, and there America’s Diann Roffe won the women’s super-G wearing a sweet, sleek suit.

2002 Olympics

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Bode Miller became a star for the U.S. in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Winter Games. He rocked what might otherwise in a non-ski environment be a Captain America costume and took home silvers in giant slalom and combined.

2006 Olympics

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Wild prints were fully the norm in the early aughts as indicated by most career medalist Janica Kostelic of Croatia. Fun fact: in 1998 following the World Cup, when she returned to her home country, she was presented with 1,256 roses – the number of points she earned that season, reports Olympics.com.

2010 Olympics

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The name Lindsey Vonn ring a bell? The U.S.’s women’s ski super start made Olympic and fashion history in Vancouver in 2010 when she won the downhill gold medal in this electric blue jumpsuit with goggles and helmet to match.

2014 Olympics

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Are they astronauts or skiers? The history of olympic skiing costumes officially embraced its out of this world look in 2014 at Sochi. And Bode Miller (far right), the one-time young gun got a new title: “oldest Olympic alpine skiing medalist,” according to NBC.

2018 Olympics

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Lindsay Vonn capped off her Olympic career at the 2018 winter games with a strong third place finish in downhill. She wore a white striped body suit to make it official, with a matching hat, natch.

What’s next in the fascinating history of Olympic skiing costumes and uniforms? You can find out by watching Beijing Olympic Games which begin on Friday, February 4.