Obviously, the Olympics are primarily about athleticism, sportsmanship and global camaraderie. But that doesn't mean we weren't looking at the outfits, too.
Hidden amid the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are moments of sartorial majesty we're not likely to see anywhere else (in part because there is very little call to wear skintight bodysuits unless you've chosen a life of cat burglary).
You'd think that representing one's country would inspire the athletes -- or, rather, their designers -- to new heights of awesome. And indeed, that's true, if by "awesome" you mean "awe-inspiringly hilarious." Here are five of our favorite fashion statements from the Vancouver games:
The Norwegian Curling Team
If they gave gold medals for most popular pants, the Norwegian team would take it in a romp. Their trousers -- actually made by a U.S. company known for its crazy golfing wear -- have more than 400,000 fans on Facebook
, and the Norwegian king himself picked up a pair, even though they're reminiscent of something his court jester would wear. They're hysterically cheerful and totally unexpected, making us suspect that they may, in fact, be part of Norway's strategy for curling success. Think about it: Could you focus if that was on the ice next to you? Neither could we.Ted Ligety
This man is an American skier, but based on what he wore for the men's super combined downhill race, you'd never know it. That outfit looks like he's competing on behalf of an Irish sherbet factory. Even when he's clad in more traditional red, white and blue, Ligety favors a neon lid in bright orange or violent green. If nothing else, it's a resourceful way to deal with Vancouver's often shadowy slalom runs: If fluorescent lights illuminate rooms, maybe Day-Glo hats light up the slopes.
Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski
They do not comprise Russia's best-known ice-dancing team -- that honor goes to the pair who skated to a bronze in controversial Aboriginal dancewear, complete with leaves and body paint -- but for our money, the costumes for Khokhlova and Novitski's Firebird routine may be the most hilariously over-the-top fashion statements of 2010. HER SKIRT HAS A TAIL, people.
Long considered the proverbial red-headed stepchild of figure-skating events, ice dancing is finally getting proper attention thanks to wackadoo garb like this, and we couldn't be happier, because it means even weirder get-ups are yet to come.
Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Cecilia McIntosh
Fun fact: Australia's McIntosh was a silver medalist in javelin in the Commonwealth Games, but a shoulder injury forced her to quit track and field, so she took up bobsled. For her trouble, she was rewarded with a groovy yet confusing green-and-yellow suit.
We have no idea what these suits convey to us about Australia, unless our Down Under friends are campaigning for a cameo in a C3PO vs. Robocop movie. (Which we can get behind.)
As if tight spandex isn't awkward enough, the Canadian uniforms (and possibly others, but it's more striking here) boast webbing on the back that might be helpful in gripping their bums to the bottom of the sled, but unfortunately give off the impression they've just been felt up by Spider-Man.
But maybe the universe is trying to make it up to them: Canada's women took gold and silver in the two-person competition.
The U.S. Snowboarding Team
Snowboardcross team member Nate Holland complained publicly that wearing tight pants defies the fight-the-man spirit in which his sport was born. So all the U.S. 'boarders at the Olympics are sporting specially designed Gore-Tex pants that look like slouchy distressed jeans. It's all the lackadaisical attitude with none of the cold, wet bums. Brilliant and ridiculous all in one. No wonder NBC's ratings are up: Even if you're not into sports, it's just so hard to look away.
(All Images: Getty)