Olympic Uniforms: Less Clothing Means Better Results

Costumes: It's All About Comfort, and a Little About Fashion

At the 2004 Athens games, women made up about 41 percent of the athletic population. Snyder said that figure is projected to rise to about 45 percent this year. On the U.S. team, women make up a little less than 50 percent of the athletes.

In addition to tradition, Snyder said, sports uniforms for both men and women are often changed by fashion.

Field hockey uniforms, she noted, used to be a tunic before morphing into wool kilts. Now the women play in form-fitting skirts made of breathable, modern fabrics.

And basketball uniforms for both men and women have gone from the tighter clothing and shorter shorts in favor of baggier tops and shorts that evoke an urban, hip-hop style.

Female Australian basketball players competed in skintight bodysuits for years, before giving them up in 2005.

"It didn't catch on," Snyder said.

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