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Olympic athletes share the sentimental stories behind their unique style choices

Here are the sweet stories and sentimental reasons behind some of the fun, unique style choices from the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials.
Simone Biles, Cristina Clemons and Sha’Carri Richardson share the sweet reasons behind their styles at the Olympic trials.
Simone Biles, Cristina Clemons and Sha’Carri Richardson share the sweet reasons behind their styles at the Olympic trials.TODAY illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TMRW

All eyes are on the athletes in the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials, and we can’t help but stare at their fun and unique personal style choices, too.

From inspiring nails, to a rhinestone design that sends out a secret message, to earrings that seriously deserve a sponsorship, here are a few of our favorite looks so far and the stories behind them.

Sha’Carri Richardson’s long embellished nails

Sha'Carri Richardson's gorgeous orange hair got plenty of attention (deservedly!), but there's a special story behind her long nails. Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

While her flowy orange hair was a standout in the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials (which left plenty of people asking if that was that a streak of fire or just a woman at super-speed!), Sha’Carri Richardson’s nails also had a major moment.

The sprinter sported long color-gradient nails featuring gold stars and sparkly embellishments. And besides just looking cool, there was a sentimental reason behind them, too.

According to the Associated Press, Richardson’s nails were inspired by both her grandmother and the fastest woman of all-time, world-record holder Florence Griffith Joyner, aka Flo-Jo.

“Flo-Jo came to the track and knew she was going to dominate,” she said in the AP interview. “The way she did that was graceful. I always liked that. If the amazing Flo-Jo had long nails, there was no excuse why I couldn’t have long nails.”

She added that her goal as an athlete is to be a mix of her grandmother and Flo-Jo. “An athlete that shows I know where I came from and been through things, but I’m not going to allow that to define me, and to always present myself in a way that is dominant — but that is also appealing.”

Simone Biles’s goat rhinestones

Simone Biles' leotard included a rhinestone goat on her shoulder at the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships on June 4.Jamie Squire / Getty Images

She's ready to show that she’s still the greatest of all time (GOAT), and her leotard choices for the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships prove it.

Simone Biles, who is currently the most decorated gymnast in history, donned two separate leotards during the competition, both featuring a rhinestone goat embellishment — one on her shoulder and another on her hip.

The leotards are from her collection with gymnastics apparel line GK Elite. Biles recently told Marie Claire that she chose the bedazzled goat design to hit back at the haters.

“I didn't feel like it was necessarily fair how they could keep saying whatever they wanted, but then if I said something, it wasn't fair,” she told the publication. “(The haters) were joking like, ‘I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah.’ That would make them so angry. And then I was like, ‘Oh, that's actually a good idea. Let's make the haters hate it, and the fans love it.’ And so that's exactly what we did and why we did it.”

Cristina Clemons' Dorito bag earrings

Christina Clemons, wearing Doritos-themed earrings, cries after the Women's 100 Meter Hurdles Final during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials on June 20.Patrick Smith / Getty Images

“I made the Olympic team wearing a bag of@Doritos on my ears,” Christina Clemons wrote on Twitter. “I need y’all to do your thing! We need to blow Doritos mentions UP.”

The athlete got lots of attention for the tiny bags of flavored chips dangling on her ears during the 2021 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials. Apparently it’s not only one of Clemons' favorite snacks, but also one of her nicknames.

"It’s funny because when I trained at Alabama State University the athletes named me 'Dorito' because I have broad shoulders and a small waist," Clemons told TMZ.

But that’s not the reason why she wore the earrings for the trials. "They matched my uniform and were so cute and I do love Doritos — but the spicy nacho kind," she added.