Female athletes who broke records and the rules at major sporting events - in absolute style


While we may not hear about Serena's catsuit again, much like the controversy that surrounded Serena when her hair was beaded, she follows in the footsteps of women like Florence Griffith Joyner who brought the glam to the track as much as she did the speed and talent. 

Serena Williams

Serena made heads spin when she played in the French Open in a stunning catsuit specially designed to help prevent blood clots. She's been dealing with the health issue on a number of occasions, including post-delivery of her adorable baby girl, Alexis Olympia. Following the ban of the Nike catsuit, Serena decided to twirl on her haters - literally.

Twirling on her haters.

The tennis star has recently played in the U.S open in adorable tutus, looking like a fierce ballerina. The gorgeous number was specially designed for her by Virgil Abloh of Off-White in collaboration with Nike. Nothing can stop the tennis queen from serving looks on the tennis court. 

Florence Griffith Joyner

Considering how fast "Flo Jo" was on the track during the 1988 Summer Olympics, with an astonishing speed of 10.49 seconds in the 100-metre race and becoming the first U.S. female Olympian to win four medals in a single year, it was surprising that anyone could get a good look at her outfits.

A look.

However, her style was hard to miss. Lace tracksuits, one legged untitards and long manicured nails were all part of Florence's performance. Way before athleisure was even a thing, Florence set trends in sport, with her bold fashion choices on the track. The former hair and nail technician made sure to leave her long tendrils blowing in the wind while she sped past her competitors like a true queen. 

READ MORE: Serena Williams, Nike and Virgil Abloh keep serving us aces as they re-imagine fashion on the tennis court

Simone Biles

Simone Biles set the record for most gold medals won in women's gymnastics at a single Games in Rio. No female gymnast has ever won more than two world championship titles. Simone has won three, making her the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history. Okay queen. 

Breaking the silence.

The record breaking gymnast most recently made headlines when she wore a leotard she designed herself. What makes the leotard even more special is that it was in honour of those who have survived sexual abuse at the hands of U.S. Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, including Simone. The teal leotard (the symbolic colour for survivors of sexual abuse) made a statement the U.S. Gymnastics, an organisation accused of not taking adequate action against Larry, simply could not ignore. 

Gail Devers

As a U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer, Gail Devers was a force to be reckoned with during her illustrious career. The two time Olympic champion in the 100 metres for the U.S. defended her title in the 1996 Olympics, making her the second woman to do so in history. Gail accomplished all this while running with exceptionally long and heavily decorated nails.

You can't go wrong with statement nails.

As one of the fastest starters in the world, Gail became known for her impossibly long and stylish fingernails as well. Her nails were so long and that she would have to alter her starting position to accommodate them. Gail revealed later in life that their length was a result of a contest her father devised to stop her from biting her nails; however, many believe that her nails were in fact acrylic. Real or fake, we loved her confidence in embracing her own look.

READ MORE: 5 South African women who've kicked ass at Wimbledon over the years

Debi Thomas

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, Debi Thomas was involved in a scandal that would change the rules of competitive figure skating costumes. Debi, the first ever black athlete to win a medal at the winter games, rocked the ice in a sparkly beaded black unitard. This move resulted in a temporary ban on costumes that did not have a skirt.

The unitard that changed everything.

The regulation dictated that it was mandatory for women to wear a skirt that covered their hips and butt and it was also required that midriffs be covered. Thankfully, this rule is no longer in place and we have women like Debi to thank for pushing the boundaries. 

Images: Getty

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