FORT WORTH, Texas -- Who are you wearing?
It’s a question more often heard on the red carpets of Hollywood than on the blue mats of a gymnasium. But when gymnasts take center stage at the NCAA championships, they are outfitted in leotards that were designed especially for them. In fact, many times the coach or gymnasts themselves have created their unique look from scratch.“Every year we do some different things as far as trying to do something out of the box,” Oklahoma head coach K.J. Kindler said. “It’s something that’s not in the magazines and leotard designs that you already see out there on everybody so I usually watch the Oscars, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, all of the awards season which is usually in January or late fall and then I kind off play off a lot of those and I give them names. They’re in essence a little bit of an evening gown except they’re a leotard.”
Kindler presented the team a brand new leotard for the Super Six. The design was based on a dress from the Nordstrom catalog affectionately called the “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” leotard.
Florida also broke out a new leotard for Super Six.
“They were a surprise!” laughed Kytra Hunter after the Gators won their third consecutive championship on Saturday.
The light blue leotard with ombré sleeves was designed by head coach Rhonda Faehn. She had a rhinestone star placed on each shoulder representing each of the championships the team had won.
“Now we get one on both sleeves and just one in the middle,” Bridget Sloan said as she patted the center of her chest.
Sloan and Hunter joked the team looked like the sisters from the movie “Frozen."
“Spice [Rachel Spicer] looks like Elsa, I mean exactly,” Sloan said. “And I said I look like Anna because she has red hair. I think it’s because we’re actually made to be princesses. I’ve always wanted to be a princess so this is as good as it’s going to get.”
Prior to the season, the Florida gymnasts form groups and each designs a leotard for the team. In fact, many of the teams competing this weekend have some sort of process for designing special leotards.
“I think the leotard says a lot about a team and that’s just the most interesting part to me when we come out here and see the big flashy leotards,” Florida’s Claire Boyce said. “I think it lets you bring out your personality.”
“It inspires a lot of pride, but I feel like every leotard we all have a little bit of input in it and so it’s just a lot of fun,” Hunter said.
"It’s definitely a girl thing.”