WINNING HAIR AND NAILS : Tokyo has been awash with unapologetic and individualistic hair styles, including Naomi Osaka's scarlet braids and the hurdler Christina Celemon's butterfly clips; or the sprinter Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pruce's two-tone neon ponytail and the weight lifter Emily Jade Campbell's half and half colored space buns.

In part, this is a reflection of modern athletes' mind-sets and determination to be themselves. And for some Olympians, bold hair, acrylic nails and jewelry are a celebration of Black female prowess on a high-profile global platform.

The British track star Dina Asher Smith's highbrow manicure by the nail artist Emily Gilmour featured a recreation of the Japanese Hokusai artwork ''The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.''

The Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic, the French shooter Melanie Couzy and the Hong Kong swimmer Camille Cheng all wore patriotic tips.

And at least one athlete offered a performance-focused slant for her look. Sunisa Lee, who won the all- around gymnastics gold for the United States, said that her long, square-shaped Olympic rings acrylics [ courtesy of Little Luxuries Nail Lounge in Minneapolis ] brought her ''good luck'' and helped her compete.

''Whenever I miss the bar, it hurts really bad, so it makes me catch the bar,'' Ms. Lee said. ''That's why I get them.''

Tomo Koizumi gained international recognition after finding a fan in Lady Gaga, who wore his designs, and a breakout New York Fashion Week debut in 2019 masterminded by the stylist Katie Grand.

Known for his frothy candy-colored organza ball gowns, the Japanese designer made headlines once again when he dressed the singer Misia for the Olympic opening ceremony.

As she sang the Japanese national anthem, Misla wore a vibrant rainbow hued dress with puffed sleeves and dense white layers of recycled organza that cascaded toward the hem in cloudlike waves of spray-painted pink, orange, yellow and green.

Forget the flame, for a moment, the creation of a self-taught, homegrown fashion talent lit up a near-empty stadium.


This year the most fashion-forward team uniforms weren't on athletes from countries with fashion capitals, like the United States, Italy and France. Instead, it was Liberia that proved willing to take a leap of faith.

Liberia's three athletes wore unisex unitards and silk mesh basketball tunics, one-shouldered tank tops and loosefitting track suits in shades of blue, red and white sprinkled with stars in a nod to the colors and symbol of the Liberian flag.

They were the brainchild of the Liberian-American fashion designer Telfar Clemens, who is based in New York. Liberia may not have won a medal in Tokyo, but it went for gold when it came to the style stakes.


Medals and Olympic ring tattoos weren't the only ubiquitous accessory this year : AirPods were everywhere. 

In particular, they were in force at the skatepark, where dozens of athletes sailed through the air with beats from their buds blasting into their ears [ and in some cases, the iPhones in their back pockets].

The American skater Jagger Eaton even stopped to search for an AirPod he'd lost during a trick, before going to win a bronze medal in the men's street event.


Female gymnasts competing at the Olympics have won bikini-cut leotards for decades. But in the early qualifying rounds in Tokyo, the German women's gymnastics team took to the mat in midsleeve, long-legged unitards. They were worn, the team said, in a stand against ''sexualization'' in the sport.

The subsequent controversy sparked major debate - on culture, on rule makers, on who gets to say what female athletes wear. The German team may not have progressed beyond the early rounds in Tokyo, but its choice of clothing left a lingering reminder of the latent objectification still faced by some female athletes.

Nor were the German athletes the only ones making statements with what they wore. Three members of the United States men's fencing team wore pink masks to protest the presence of a teammate accused of sexual misconduct. 

Publishing continues in the future. The World Students Society thanks author Eliizabeth Paton.


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