Mark of Eternity – Olympic Tattoos Describing the Wearer

Tattoos make a statement of their own. Once viewed as a sign of rebellion, tattoos are now considered an expression of art. Nevertheless, they are not for the weak-hearted – needles are not everyone’s cup of tea, right? However, regardless of whether you have a tattoo or not, you will most likely be interested to know more about someone who does. One of the best things about tattoos is – they tell a lot about the wearer by the kind of tattoos that they sport. Just like clothes, only in a more detailed way.

The London Games was not devoid of this form of art either as more than one athlete chose to wear their, well, “resolve” on their sleeves. From unimaginative and standard tattoos of Olympic rings to really elaborate artwork, tattoos became an intrinsic part of the Games. British cyclist Victoria Pendleton has the words – ‘Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known” innovatively inked on her wrist. She plans to retire from the sport after the London Olympics 2012. Sprint Athlete James Ellington’s torso is a canvas showcasing the art with references to the spirit of victory on his arms and back. Too bad he finished in the sixth place in the heats.

What caught the imagination of the fans was star volleyball player Misty May-Treanor’s tattoo on her lower back that was more prominent on the court than the ball. The mystery surrounding her tattoo gave rise to many stories until she dispersed them all with the truth about her tat on the back. It turned out to be number five – the jersey number she played with at Cal State Long Beach very long ago. Could there be a better homage than this?

Anastasia Davydova, synchronized swimmer from Russia loves butterflies or so it would seem from the tattoo of the colourful critters flying across her back. And if you thought only athletes painted ink on their bodies, you probably missed Watership Down’s Olympic rings permanently marked on its hind legs. Wondering who or what Watership Down is? To enlighten you, Watership Down was an equestrian participant and the much loved horse of Louis Lyons from Ireland.

“What I deserve, I earn” – these inspiring words could be read on British gymnast Louis Smith. Quite rightly so, he earned the bronze medal on the pummel horse event. Attaboy! On the other side of the Games, champion archer Natalia Valeeva’s lucky archer tattoo on the lower leg could not secure her a win in these Games.

Whether tattoos are a lucky charm or a statement, athletes and fans seem to love them equally. Interesting, spectacular and appealing, tattoos on our favourite Olympians has brought forth the once considered taboo body art into the limelight as legitimate, fun or even serious business. Kudos to the brave hearts who have managed to inspire several generations with their performance in the field of sports and off it with fashion trends that are sure to remain etched on our minds for years to come.