sochi

What do Olympians wear for luck? The clothes that give them an edge

Feb. 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM ET

Image: Julia Mancuso
HOW HWEE YOUNG / EPA
Julia Mancuso has won bronze, but she's "been thinking gold" before her next run, expected Saturday.

Call it superstition, ritual or just a habit: Many Olympians think their gear can help lead them to gold. Experts even told TODAY.com it could give athletes an edge.

Julia Mancuso isn't a superstitious person, but why risk it? 

"I've been thinking gold lately," the Olympic skier told TODAY.com. Her choices even trickled down to wardrobe selection. 

Before Vancouver her mom Andrea bought her a sparkly silver shirt. "And I then got a silver medal," Julia noted.

Andrea was more careful this time in dressing her daughter for Sochi success. "She got me a present, and then pulled out a gold dress," Julia said. "'I made sure it was gold this time,' she told me."  

WATCH: Julia Mancuso talks winning bronze on TODAY

Mancuso took bronze in the women's combined competition Monday. She's expected to compete in Saturday's women's super-G and the giant slalom next week where she could score her fifth medal, matching Bode Miller as the most decorated U.S. skier. 

Image: Gus Kenworthy
NBC Sports / Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
Olympian Gus Kenworthy wears his Hoots Cafe T-Shirt in honor of his best friend who passed away.

Figure skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who helped lift U.S. to a bronze medal in team competition, say they always tie one skate before the other. Marissa starts with her right, while Simon first laces up his left.

Image: Karly Shorr
Joe Scarnici / Getty Images
Olympian Karly Shorr wearing her good luck charm, a jade necklace.

And U.S. snowboarder Taylor Gold competes in lucky socks. "There’s nothing special about them," he told TODAY.com. "I don’t know why I like them, but I do."

For some, the choice is more personal. 

Freeskier Gus Kenworthy, who scored a silver medal, wears a "Hoots Cafe" T-Shirt when competing in honor of his best friend Hoot Brown, who passed away a few years ago.

"A friend randomly found this cafe on a road trip, and got me the shirt," Gus said. "It's always been my contest shirt since then."

For slopestyle snowboarder Karly Shorr, lucky clothing — in her case, a jade necklace — is a reminder of home.

"It's dangerous what we do," she said. "So it honestly makes me feel safer." 

But Karly isn't worried if she's not wearing her necklace — she's got something even better in Sochi. "My mom is out here. I brought her," she said. "She's pretty lucky."

WATCH: Karly Shorr tells TODAY's Matt Lauer about her lucky necklace

Steve Veres is an editor for TODAY.com. TODAY.com's Vidya Rao contributed to this article. Follow their Sochi adventures on Twitter, @Sveres123 and @VRao517.

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