The thin line between fashion & bad taste: Most bizarre figure skating costumes of all time (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
With the great variety of programs staged in figure skating, athletes’ scrupulously chosen outfits are an inseparable part of the image they try to portray on the ice. But sometimes their fashion choices leave fans astonished.
RT Sport recalls the most bizarre figure skating outfits which either spiced up or completely ruined their programs, making them literally unforgettable in every sense.
OKSANA DOMNINA AND MAXIM SHABALIN: ABORIGINAL COSTUMES
Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin were one of the most remarkable ice-dancing duets of Russia, with memorable routines and perfectly matched music being their forte.
But in 2010, the pair’s desire to create something unusual ended up embroiling them in an international scandal.
The skaters chose an aboriginal theme for their Olympic routine, which triggered criticism from Aboriginal Australians.
The pair’s bright red loincloths, brown bodysuits, and eucalyptus leaves were deemed offensive and lacking in authenticity.
Responding to the criticism, Shabalin stressed that the program was inspired by the world’s aboriginal cultures, not Australia’s in particular.
BETINA POPOVA AND SERGEY MOZGOV: POWER RANGERS FASHION
Arguably the most extravagant duet in Russian figure skating, Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov haven’t yet won international awards, but have made the entire figure skating community discuss their eye-catching routines.
Last season, they amazed fans with their costume choice, appearing in tight-fitting bodysuits which covered them from head to toe.
Skating to the music from martial arts fantasy ‘Mortal Kombat’, they imitated a fight on the rink, sending the crowd into frenzy.
The pair failed to qualify for the national team this year due to health problems.
EVGENI PLUSHENKO: SEX BOMB
Two-time Olympic champion from Russia Evgeni Plushenko is not only remembered for his incredible figure skating skills, but also for his unique artistry and acting talent, which sometimes perhaps even deserved an Oscar nomination.
Along with multiple exhibition routines created by the skating master, ‘Sex Bomb’ stands apart as one of the most popular routines in the sport’s history.
Performed in the 2000-2001 season, the dynamic program saw Plushenko slowly stripping, revealing his specially-made muscular suit underneath.
The routine became an international hit, with Plushenko’s fame rivalling that of the original performer of the song, Tom Jones.
Núnca me cansaré del Sex bomb de Plushenko 🙄 pic.twitter.com/L6UyjNN5xx— Dulce no tan dulce- (@Dulce3pm) June 12, 2017
Even after his retirement, Plushenko still shows off the routine on figure skating tours, but now he is accompanied by his son Alexander, who has also embarked on a figure skating career.
KATARINA WITT: DRESS CODE CHANGER
Figure skating legend Katarina Witt, who dominated women’s skating in the 1980s, dictated her own rules on and off the rink, forcing the ISU to change the dress code requirements.
Competing at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, the skating diva donned a blue body-hugging outfit with feathers instead of a skirt, which barely covered her bottom.
Following her tremendous performance, which brought the East German skater her second Olympic gold, the ISU introduced ‘the Katarina Rule’, which requires all female competitors to have a skirt covering their hips and buttocks.
ELIZAVETA TUKTAMYSHEVA: ‘STRIPTEASE TREND’
Russian figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva launched the ‘striptease trend’ last season, stealing the show at the Skate Canada Grand Prix by putting on a racy performance to the tune of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’.
The skater stripped off her flight attendant jacket during the gala show, showing off her black lingerie, a move that generated a lot of discussion after the performance.
Tuktamysheva’s raunchy dance was a huge hit on social media, inspiring other skaters to try out new risqué routines along with provocative outfits which made their performances highly memorable, especially among male fans.
ANTON SHULEPOV: AUSCHWITZ-THEMED UNIFORM
Russian male figure skater Anton Shulepov found himself at the center of a scandal this season after his Auschwitz-themed outfit was included in the list of best costume award nominees.
The 23-year-old staged an emotional free-program set to music from the movie Schindler’s List. He chose a costume that included elements of a Nazi guard uniform and a concentration camp prisoner’s outfit.
Shulepov’s costume design provoked outrage among figure skating fans who considered his style to be offensive.
Along with a striped uniform worn by concentration camp prisoners, Shulepov’s costume also had a Yellow Star of David, a badge that was used to identify Jews during the Nazi era.
The Russian figure skater Anton Shulepov wore a costume that was half Nazi guard uniform and half Jewish Holocaust inmate uniform. I humbly nominate this photo as the mascot of the "both sides" brigade. pic.twitter.com/ILSvJr7CGE— Alex (@JewishWonk) December 2, 2019
After an avalanche of complaints, the International Skating Union removed Shulepov’s costume from the list of nominees.
EKATERINA RUBLEVA: EMBARASSING WARDROBE MALFUNCTION
Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Rubleva made headlines in 2009 when her dress tore midway through her performance at the European Figure Skating Championships.
Rubleva and her partner Ivan Shefer were demonstrating their compulsory dance when a strap on the skater’s backless pink dress unexpectedly broke, exposing her right breast.
The mishap didn’t prevent them from finishing the routine, though Rubleva did become that day’s top news story from the event.
SARA HURTADO AND ADRIAN DIAZ: INSPIRED BY PICASSO
Spanish ice dancers Sara Hurtado and Adrian Diaz staged a Picasso-themed program while competing at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
The first Spanish pair to qualify for the Olympics paid tribute to the renowned artist, with Hurtado’s dress including several of his masterpieces in its design.
The duo, who interpreted the love story between Picasso and Dora Maar, mesmerized the Russian audience, who responded with thunderous applause.
Despite achieving success on the international stage, the pair parted company in 2016, and Hurtado teamed up with former Russian skater Kirill Khaliavin, who now represents Spain.