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

Feb. 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM ET

Image: Julia Mancuso
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 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 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 "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's Vidya Rao contributed to this article. Follow their Sochi adventures on Twitter, @Sveres123 and @VRao517.