The 11 Best Beauty Moments In Olympic History

Since it only comes around once in a blue moon (a.k.a. every four years), there's always a lot of anticipation surrounding the Summer Olympics once it does finally arrive. And this year, the hype might be even more elevated. From talk about the badass gymnastics dream team, to the face-off between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin (not to mention all the controversy and health concerns), all eyes will be on Rio for the next 15 days.

Of course, the focus should be on the games, the athletes' talent (not their appearances), and rooting for your country. But the Olympics is also a prime time for beauty, self-expression, and celebrating culture — and this time around is sure to be no different. Ryan Lochte's silver-fox strands have already started us off on a high note. And though she won't be competing this year, we hope to see Swedish sprinter Iréne Ekelund's colorful braids the next Olympic go-round.

From historic looks to those we can't wait to witness "IRL," check out this roundup of our favorite Olympic beauty moments ahead. Can we get a "Jeah!"
Advertisement
1 of 12
Photo: IOPP/Getty Images.
When you google '90s beauty, this image pops up first (just kidding, but it should). The Magnificent Seven went down in history for their skills, but we also can't forget their piece-y bangs or bulky, white scrunchies.
2 of 12
Photo: Tony Duffy/Getty Images.
Florence Griffith-Joyner, better known as Flo-Jo, will forever be remembered for her medals (three gold, two silver) and record-setting race times. But another aspect of the runner we can't forget were her never-boring 6-inch nails. Get it.
Advertisement
3 of 12
Photo: Martin Bureau/Getty Images.
Hair and makeup plays to synchronized swimmers' advantage. In fact, "artistic impression" accounts for a portion of a team's final score (one-fifth, to be exact).

Fun fact: To keep their hair from straying, they even use unflavored gelatin as hair gel. The more you know!
4 of 12
Photo: Getty Images.
Gymnasts are no strangers to glitter — but they typically restrict it to their eyes. That is, until Marta Pihan-Kulesza from Poland pulled a fast one on us in 2012 and sprinkled red, gold, and silver into her hair twists. Shine on, girl.
5 of 12
Photo: David Madison/Getty Images.
Back in 1992, nobody could compete with Kristi Yamaguchi's moves on the ice or her beauty look: teased-out bangs, hair clips and ribbons galore, and monochromatic makeup.
6 of 12
Photo: Page Images/REX/Shutterstock.
Venus Williams paired her gold medal with super-fun patriotic braids, red lips, and blue eyeshadow in 2012. According to her Instagram, it looks like she's opting for a similar style this year.
7 of 12
Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images.
U.K. swimmer Rebecca Adlington was all smiles as she showed off her medal and impressive Union Jack nail art in 2012.
Advertisement
8 of 12
Photo: Olivier Morin/Getty Images.
Jamaican runner Nickiesha Wilson turned heads in 2012 when she shaved the Olympic rings into her hair.
9 of 12
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images.
What better way to show off your U.S.A. love than with a flag grill — right, Ryan Lochte?
10 of 12
Photo: Via @ryanlochte.
This year, his creative expression came in a different form: icy-blue hair. He explained to The Washington Post: "Usually, I've always worn my grill at the Olympics...so I was like, I gotta do something different, so I said why not the hair?" Why not, indeed.
11 of 12
Photo: C. Lawson/CSM/REX/Shutterstock.
Shannon Rowbury qualified for this year's Olympics wearing bright-pink lipstick and a yellow septum piercing — as one does. She explained to USA Today that her look is a means of self-expression (and in memory of her late grandmother).

"You can be a strong, athletic, courageous woman and you can wear lipstick,” Rowbury told the newspaper. "It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s a form of expression, especially in track and field where my uniform is provided by my sponsor (or the [U.S. Olympic Committee])... I like that lipstick is a way that won’t detract from my performance, and it puts me in my happy place before I start the race.”
12 of 12
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Advertisement