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Gymnastics is a sport that developed from fitness exercises of the ancient Greek soldiers. This popular sport is performed by gymnasts who require a relaxed gear for their performance, therefore, the gymnastics leotard is a perfect one-piece, skin-tight costume that fulfills this purpose. The sport involves a series of movements that require considerable flexibility and strength. Jules Léotard, who was a French acrobatic performer, made this sport famous and initially referred to the attire as a maillot. It is a standard garment for all gymnasts around the globe that comes in many forms to suit the different types of gymnasts. Typically, this garment resembles a full piece swimming suit that is made from stretchable material such as velours or lycra thus suitable for performing jumps and other flexible movements.
There are several classes of gymnastics, which include the rhythmic, artistic, tumbling, trampoline, and sports gymnastics and the leotards are specially designed for each type of gymnasts. Leotards cover the gymnast's upper body leaving their legs free to perform the flexible movements while the gymnastics unitard is a variation of this costume that covers the upper body and legs too. Gymnasts regularly wear the leotard in gymnastics workout and competitions. The workout leotard is used in gymnastics practice while rhythmic gymnastics leotards for competition are specifically used in rhythmic competitions. The competition leotard should be of the gymnast's team colors and should have a professional look. This means that they cannot have crisscrossed straps, be high cut, or contain cutouts (holes in the back). The costume must have at least two-inch straps but in most cases, they are long sleeved. The gym owners, coaches, or the team as a whole decides on the competition gymnastics leotard to use for their international and national events.
Leotards have improved with time. Back in the day, the garment was not very colorful and was extremely plain as compared to the recent designs, which are cute and more advanced. Today, leotards are available in a wide variety of designs, styles, material, colors, and patterns. First is the scoop-necked leotard that has a wide neck opening and is held in place by the garment’s elasticity. Others include the turtle-necked or crew -necked and those that are closed at the rear of the neck with snaps or a zipper. There are also long-sleeved, three quarter sleeved, short-sleeved, and sleeveless varieties of the leotards.
In conclusion, with a wide variety of choices to select from in the market today, it becomes very hard for one to make a decision. However, when selecting rhythmic gymnastics leotards for competition it is important to keep in mind that you should settle for one that does not show bra straps or other undergarments during the competition for the reason that it is considered as indecency and can result to deduction in marks. It is necessary too that the competitors wear the right attire so that their movements during the competition are deemed manageable and easy. The costume should be very comfortable to complement the gymnasts’ movements.
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