The pre-competition beauty rituals of female Olympic athletes

The pre-competition beauty rituals of female Olympic athletes

For the win

Text: Angelyn Kwek

Representatives of gender and country, these top female athletes prove that you can be powerful and pretty with a prep routine for their competition close-ups

The Olympics are traditionally synonymous with sweat, blood and tears but female athletes have been upping the ante by parading a slew of makeup looks on the field that's caught the fancy of fans and press alike. And if you're of the school of thought where grueling sports and makeup shouldn't mix, think again as these female Olympians prove you won't end up a hot mess at the finish line because their beauty prep is key to nailing that gold medal.

After all, we know the confidence-boosting power of makeup so it's not a far stretch to imagine how a pre-competition beauty ritual grants these national figures that elevated conviction to take home the win. In fact, beauty brand Make Up For Ever has even developed a specialised aqua range for the French synchronised swimming team to get their game-face on that's guaranteed to stay on. (Bonus tip: Unflavoured gelatin is the perfect product to keep your hairstyle picture-perfect underwater). So the next time you hit the gym, ladies, you might want to gear up with your 'war paint' because this is how the fairer Olympian athletes roll.

It goes without saying that some sporting disciplines require a tad more polished showmanship than others, and the artistic gymnastics arena is one where equal parts graceful strength and glitter go hand-in-hand. Securing gold just yesterday along with our vote for fresh minimal beauty is Team USA with their five-woman strong lineup of Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, Lauren Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Alexandra Raisman whose put together makeup look and competition routine had all eyes riveted on them.

Athlete beauty rituals Rio Olympics 2016 Team USA

Coiffed to perfection — it's imperative that hair doesn't unravel during somersaults and flips — the ladies locked down their hairstyles with plenty of hairspray to keep every strand in place and complemented their fresh complexions with a pop of glitter underliner. Now that's a winning look.

Faster than the wind and able to leap hurdles in a single bound; Britain's track and field champion is also the current Olympic and world heptathlon gold-medalist whose record-breaking streak and mixed beauty — she's half-Jamaican and half-English — have catapulted her into Olympic stardom. Aiming for another gold at this year's Rio Games, Ennis-Hill has revealed that her pre-event beauty ritual helps her stay grounded and prepared to tackle the competition. Recognised for her fiercely rimmed eyes, she favours waterproof products and is never caught competing without her makeup on.

Athlete beauty rituals Rio Olympics 2016 Jessica Ennis-Hill

Her current sweatproof, gold-cinching beauty lineup? Ennis-Hill swears by Bobbi Brown's long wear gel eyeliner in Black Ink, the Bobbi Brown No Smudge mascara and a solid foundation using M.A.C cosmetics. Not neglecting bodycare, she also fastidiously keeps her legs smooth and her skin well moisturised — talk about an all-rounder in Olympics and beauty.

Nailing her triple lutz-triple toe loop to the roaring crowd of loyal fans, 'Queen Yuna' as the media dubbed her, is equally famous for her perfectly executed jumps as she is her signature look. A fuss-free beauty, Kim wears a natural look off the rink but when she's on the ice, this skating legend is known for her heavy bold eyeliner and crimson lips.

Athlete beauty rituals Rio Olympics 2016 Kim Yuna

Reminiscent of the edgy makeup preferred by K-pop idols, Kim's beauty ritual was necessitated by her chosen sport but the Korean icon has put her own spin on it by playing up her eyes with a smudged liner look for an intense smokiness not many figure skaters can pull off. She's also a fan of Dior's Dior Addict Lip Glow to prevent chapped lips as she's often in cold environments between competitions and long hours of hard training. And though she may have hung up her leotard in 2014, Queen Yuna is a name that will always reverberate in the Olympic hall of fame and no doubt inspire several up-and-coming competitive skaters (and K-enthusiasts) to channel her daring look.

Here are athlete-approved products you'll want to stash in your gym beauty bag: 

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