Old School Cool: The Swaggiest Summer Olympics Uniforms of All Time

You might not be able to score official points for looking fly at the Olympics, but luckily for us spectators, that’s never kept athletes from competing for imaginary “Best Dressed” medals. Of course, nothing speaks louder than athletic performance but Olympic fashion choices carry their own weight: They can help set a team apart, express an athlete’s personality and culture, and make the whole spectacle more fun to get lost in.

With the 2024 Paris Games right around the corner, we rounded up the coolest retro Olympic uniforms: From opening ceremony styles and standout team uniforms to iconic solo looks, we wouldn’t mind seeing any of these throwbacks on the podium this year. You’ll see drastic trend changes throughout these 31 photos, but they all capture the exhilarating spirit of the Games that never seems to go out of style.

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1960: American sprinter Wilma Rudolph in the final steps of a race at the Summer Olympics in Rome. Rudolph, who couldn’t walk without the use of braces until she was nine, won gold in the 100- and 200-meter run, and anchored the winning 400-meter relay team.

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1960: A group of athletes from the United States, Italy, and Turkey gather on the track before a foot race as officials look on at the 17th Summer Olympic Games in Rome.

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1960: American athletes Clifton Cushman, Glenn Davis, and Richard Howard (silver, gold, and bronze medalists respectively) stand behind the podium during the awards ceremony of the men’s 400 hurdles during the XVII Olympiad in Rome.

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1964: British swimmers depart for Tokyo: Jackie Enfield, Jill Slattery, and Stella Mitchell in their team outfits.

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1968: A model poses in one of the cape uniforms to be worn by the guides of the Summer Games in Mexico City. The outfit, designed by Irma Dubost and Julie Murdoch, has the logotype “Mexico 68.”

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October 12, 1968: The women of the United States Olympic team lead their male counterparts into the University City Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies of the 19th Olympic Games in Mexico City.

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October 12, 1968: France’s delegation enters the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Mexico City Olympic Games at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario.

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1972: Mark Spitz competes in the men’s swimming tournament at the Munich Summer Olympics.

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March 3, 1979: Models pose with the Organizing Committee officials and staff uniforms for the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympic Games.

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July 30, 1980: Brazilian players Marcel Ramon P. de Nascimento (11) and Marcos A. Abdalla Leite (9) try to stop Yugoslavian Drazen Dalipagic (14) from scoring in Moscow during the men’s Basketball semi-finals. Yugoslavia won 96 to 95.

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June 1983: Two models wear clothing from the 1984 USA Olympic Team outfits created by Levi’s for the 1984 Summer Olympics at Levi’s Plaza in San Francisco.

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June 1983: Two models wear clothing from the 1984 USA Olympic Team outfits created by Levi’s for the 1984 Summer Olympics at Levi’s Plaza in San Francisco.

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July 28, 1984: Members of the United States Olympic Team march into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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August 1, 1984: Lynette Woodard (6) is victorious with Team USA after winning a game against South Korea in Los Angeles.

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August 5, 1984: Romanian gymnast Ecaterina Szabo competes on the balance beam at the Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

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August 9, 1984: Miwako Motoyoshi and Saeko Kimura at the women’s duet synchronized swimming competition at McDonald’s Olympic Swim Stadium in Los Angeles.

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August 9, 1984: Merlene Ottey-Page of Jamaica, bronze medalist, salutes the crowd during the medal ceremony for the women’s 200-meter track and field event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Also visible on the left is gold medalist Valerie Brisco-Hooks of the United States.

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1984: The Australian women’s field hockey team competes at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

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August 12, 1984: Members of the Costa Rica Olympic Team (red uniforms) take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Summer Olympics at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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September 17, 1988: American 400-meter runner Denean Howard among other USA team members during the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Seoul.

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September 24, 1988: American sprint star Florence Griffith-Joyner looks back after the women’s 100-meter semi-final at Seoul Olympic Stadium.

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1990: Lynette Woodard #6, point guard for the United States women’s basketball team, during a portrait photo session at the University of Kansas campus.

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August 4, 1992: The Lithuanian team watches from the bench in a game against Brazil during the men’s basketball tournament of the Barcelona Summer Olympics.

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August 7, 1992: Liane Sato #14, Tara Battle #13, Tammy Liley #8, Janet Cobbs #12, and Yoko Zetterlund #2 of the United States celebrate winning the women’s volleyball bronze medal match against Brazil at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

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July 19, 1996: Members of the Russian Federation delegation tour the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies of the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

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July 27, 1996: Michael Johnson of the United States starts the 400-meter dash round 2 wearing his gold shoes in Atlanta. Johnson won with a time of 44.62 seconds.

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1996: USA’s players celebrate a 2-1 victory over China in the women’s soccer tournament of the Summer Olympics.

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July 18, 2000: Athletes Margaret Crowley and Lee Naylor model the new Australian Olympic Track and Field Uniforms in Sydney.

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July 7, 2004: Members of Team Great Britain line up in their Olympic kit six weeks ahead of the Games. Left to right: Marathon runner Tracey Morris, sprinter Marlon Devonish, boxer Amir Khan, rower James Cracknell, athletes Jo Fenn, Donna Fraser, Daniel Caines, Phillips Idowu, Lee McConnell, and Jade Johnson.

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July 27, 2012: Members of Malaysia’s delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

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