It's been the most amazing two weeks of Olympics--our women's gymnastics team took gold, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history...and Ryan Lochte wore a grill on the medal stand. No matter what you think of him, that upped the ante--suddenly we were noticing athlete flair everywhere.
We already know that nail art took the athletes' village by storm, but that wasn't the only way the athletes expressed some individuality this year. They can't really use their clothes to express themselves, so that's where makeup, jewelry and, yes teeth adornment, comes in. From signature hair styles to bejeweled face painting, Olympians were not afraid to let their freak flags fly. And we loved them for it.
Click through to check out the athletes who really made an impression on us during this Olympics season.
Ryan Lochte Sport: Swimming Country:USA Why: Because Ryan is not afraid of being himself. Even if that means sporting a cheesy grill during one of the most momentous occasions of his life. We are SO looking forward to his post-Olympics career. Jeah.
Marta Pihan Kulesza Sport: Gymnastics Country: Poland Why: Hair glitter was a strong gymnastics trend, but she really took it to the next level, turning cornrows--cornrows!--into glittery gymnastics gold.
Serena and Venus Williams Sport: Tennis Country: USA Why: This is a strong dual hair statement--the Williams are not afraid of hair flair. We're glad they brought it to the Olympics.
Tom Daley Sport: Diving Country: Great Britain Why: Tom Daley is the heartthrob of Team GB. Stella McCartney said of designing his uniform: “There wasn’t a lot of space to work on to apply the print." Daley manages to make the teeny thing his own by wearing that swimsuit scrunched down an extra inch farther than everyone else's. It's working. We noticed.
Dee Dee Trotter Sport: Track & Field Country: USA Why: Dee Dee called her look "war paint"--the stick on rhinestones elevate the look from Braveheart to "glam modern hard ass."
Danell Leyva Sport: Gymnastics Country: USA Why: Danell Leyva's towel is his signature good look charm. It even has its own Twitter account, @LeyvasTowel.
Zara Phillips Sport: Equestrian Jumping Country: Great Britain Why: She's a Royal. That, combined with the posh equestrian outfit, qualifies her for a mention. She could be posing for Town & Country.
Nickiesha Wilson Sport: Track & Field Country: Jamaica Why: She shaved the Olympic rings onto her head, that's why!
Kohei Uchimura Sport: Gymnastics Country: Japan Why: We watched Kohei a lot and we MUST know what kind of texturizing product he uses on that hair.
Sanya Richards-Ross Sport: Trick & Field Country: USA Why: Amazing hair braid (with a nod to Lauren Conrad), Chanel earrings, and patriotic nail art. You win, Sanya.
Mckayla Maroney Sport: Gymnastics Country: USA Why: Mckayla always wears a strong eye, but we love the Victoria Beckham thing she has happening. (Also you MUST check out the meme Tumblr devoted to her: McKayla Is Not Impressed. They also noted a VB similarity. Thanks to our loyal commenter Rachel Gilman for bringing this one to our attention.) Here's one brilliant example--Mckayla is not impressed by the rowers' eye-popping shorts:
Louis Smith Sport: Gymnastics Country: Great Britain Why: He's instantly recognizable by his flat-top-with-an-edge.
Georganne Moline Sport: Track & Field Country: USA Why: You don't see a lot of heavy eye makeup on the track & field ladies, but Georganne goes for it. Heavily. #waterproof
Kellie Wells Sport: Track & Field Country: USA Why: Why haven't we seen more brightly-dyed hair at the Olympics? Thank you, Kellie!
Aliya Mustafina Sport: Gymnastics Country: Russia Why: We've said it before--her cat-eye liner is perfection.
Sarah Attar Sport: Track & Field Country: Saudi Arabia Why: This is the first year a woman has competed for Saudi Arabia. Sarah proudly represented her country and her religion, wearing a modest running outfit and covering her head.
Teddy Riner: Sport: Judo Country: France Why: This is artistry. Truly.
Kerri Walsh and Misty May Treanor: Sport: Beach Volleyball Country: USA Why: Kerri's fat messy braid and Misty's ubiquitous head band. Now iconic as they retire their teeny tiny bikinis for good.
Beach Volleyball Cheerleader Sport: They're cheerleaders for beach volleyball--not sure why they exist. Just don't say cheerleading isn't a sport! Cheerleaders get pissed off about that. But it's not an Olympic sport. Yet. Country: Indeterminate. Why: Loving her vintage-y front victory roll.
Dutch Women's Field Hockey Team Sport: Field Hockey Country: Netherlands Why: Gawker informed us that these ladies had a, um, very devoted following, no matter what time their games aired. We're not surprised.