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The 35 most glorious fashion statements in the history of Olympic figure skating

Once every four years, we are treated to the world's greatest fashion show on ice.

Figure skating is about training, athleticism, technique, and execution.

It's also about clothes.

Most athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi will compete in lightweight, stretchy, synthetic jumpsuits. (At least one will look like a mariachi singer.)

Not the figure skaters. If history is any guide, they will compete in costumes that range from the classic to the completely insane, with all the in-between categories accounted for: the skimpy, the patterned, the trashy, the themed, and, as always, the Western.

Let's look back over the last 25 years of Olympic figure skating and revel in the joy, the wonder, and the confusion that the sport's fashion has brought us.

 

Calgary, 1988

 

1) Brian Orser (Canada), Brian Boitano (US), Viktor Petrenko (Ukraine) [left to right]

Everything here is exceptional. The soft, fluffy, '80s hair. Boitano looking like a Union officer. Petrenko as the Mulleted Magenta Mariachi.


( DANIEL JANIN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

2) Sergei Grinkov and Yekaterina Gordeeya, Soviet Union

Solid-color matching. Ruffles. Such flowers.


(MARK CARDWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

 

3) Katarina Witt, East Germany

The definition of FIERCE. All red everything. Red dress, red arms, red nails, red lips, red eyes, red hair, red roses. 


(DANIEL JANIN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Lillehammer, 1994

 

4) Brian Boitano, US

BB's back with the classy pirate look and a belt buckle the size of his face.


(Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

 

5) Elvis Stojko, Canada

Tough.


(VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images)

 

6) Jerod Swallow and Elizabeth Punsalan, US

Extreme nighttime visiblity. Very safe.


(Simon Bruty/ALLSPORT/Getty)

 

7) Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Great Britain

Classy. Like royal wedding classy. 


(AFP/Getty Images)

 

8) Nathalie Krieg, Switzerland

Not classy, but fun in a "Sixteen Candles" kind of way.


(Pascal Rondeau/ALLSPORT/Getty)

 

9) Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, US

All you need to see to understand the history of these two.


(VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Nagano, 1998

 

10) Philippe Candeloro, France

Method-acting levels of commitment to this costume.


(ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

 

11) Ilia Kulik, Russia

Pioneer of prints.


(YOSHIKATSU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

12) Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, France

A catsuit ahead of its time. Black, gold, and a splash of ginger. 


(Clive Brunskill /Allsport/Getty)

 

Salt Lake City, 2002

 

13) Jamie Sale and Davie Pelletie, Canada

These two aren't actually at the Olympics. They are at a corporate retreat participating in a team-building exercise. #businesscasual


(Doug Pensinger/ Getty Images)

 

14) Qing Pang and Jian Tong, China

These are actually children's Halloween costumes purchased at Walgreen's.


(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

 

15) Evgeni Plushenko, Russia

Because Michael Jackson.


(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

 

16) Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov, Russia

Presented without comment.


(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

 

17) Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, France

This is how you'll dress in the future.


(JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

 

18) Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, Russia

This is how you're dressed right now.


(AFP/Getty Images)

 

Turin, 2006

 

19) Eva-Maria Fitze and Rico Rex, Germany

Edgy?


(JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

 

20) Brian Joubert, France

James Bond, from France. 


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

21) Stephane Lambiel, Switzerland

Powerclashing.


(Clive Rose/Getty Images)

 

22) Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov, Russia

White tie plus giant, bedazzled crucifix. 


(FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

 

23) Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov, Russia

The main event is white tie, but the afterparty is jungle-themed and really, really sketchy.


(S. Levin/Getty Images)

 

24. Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov, Ukraine

Lots of flesh here. 


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

25) Irini Slutskaya, Russia

Irini made a splash when she went for pants instead of a skirt. It worked.


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

26) Idoa Hegel, Croatia

Idoa did, too... swagger-jacking.


(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

 

27) Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, Great Britain

The dress code for this event was confusing. Or was there a luggage issue?


(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

 

28) Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, Great Britain

Okay, not a luggage issue, because their Western (Texan?) outfits arrived safely.


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Vancouver, 2010

 

29) Johnny Weir, US

Johnny Weir completely changed the fashion game when he stepped on the scene. Haters are his motivators, and he will rock what he wants to rock.


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

30) Tomas Verner, Czech Republic

Mime jeans.


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

31) Samuel Contesti, Italy

Again, he had the opportunity to compete in a lightweight, stretchy, synthetic jumpsuit.


(DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

 

32) Kevin van der Perren, Belgium

Like this lightweight, stretchy, synthetic jumpsuit that is also SKELETON PAJAMAS.


(DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

33) Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, Russia

Very unclear what this is, but seems vaguely racist.


(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

34) Tanith Belbin and Benjain Agosto, US

Unclear, also maybe racist.


(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

35) Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, France

When in doubt, go Western. Although her costume is confusing and might be racist. 


(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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