The different colors are actually super important.
On Tuesday, July 27, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team placed second in the Summer Olympics team final after Simone Biles withdrew from the competition due to a medical issue. While this is the first time in a decade that Team USA hasn’t claimed gold in an international competition, you might be wondering why Biles and her teammates sported yet another different leotard while competing. Wondering what Team USA Gymnastics’ leotard colors mean at the 2021 Olympics and if the differences are intentional? There’s actually a simple explanation for why some of the team members were sporting different hues.
ICYMI, fans watched as Simone Biles and the rest of Team USA women’s gymnastics team advanced to the Summer Olympics final by placing second behind Russia during the qualifier on Sunday, July 25. If you watched the competition, you probably noticed two of the teammates were dressed in red leotards while everyone was dressed in blue.
Laurie Hernandez, who was formerly Biles’ teammate and part of the "Final Five" at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, clarified that the different colors were used to designate the competitors’ different roles. Since Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum were competing for a medal for the U.S. team final on July 27, they wore the Team USA uniform, which featured a blue background with a star design.
The two individual athletes who were not competing with the team — Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner — due to a new Tokyo 2020 rule wore red to signify their status as individuals separate from those who compete in the team final. Carey, who still represents Team USA as an individual, qualified for the gymnastics floor exercise and vault finals. So, even though the gymnasts all competed members of Team USA, the colors signified who was in the team final and who was an individual.
Hernandez confirmed the leotards’ meaning via Twitter on July 25, writing: “Blue is on team/team finals, red is for individual finals :).”
At the final on July 27, the team sported yet another costume change. This time, they appeared in leotards with bands of red, white, and navy blue as their official team outfit. All four Team USA competitors wore what was called the “Patriotism” leotard, according USA Gymnastics’ Instagram post on July 27.
With the team final completed and Team USA scoring silver on July 27, it’s on to the women’s all-around on July 29, with the event finals starting Aug. 3. You can look out for whether Team USA competitors Biles, Lee, and Carey will sport the “Patriotism” leotards or if they’ll debut a new individual design.