Serena Williams Pays Tribute to Sports Champion Flo-Jo in an Asymmetric Tennis Unitard02/08/2021
For her first match in the 2021 Australian Open, Serena Williams honored the late athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner, widely known as “Flo-Jo,” by wearing an asymmetrical unitard—sportswear that the track and field legend popularized in the late ’80s.
The Grand Slam champion’s look, courtesy of Nike, featured black, red, and hot-pink color-blocks with one full-length leg sleeve.
After winning her match against Laura Siegemund, Williams revealed the sentimental meaning behind her outfit in a postgame interview. “I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete, when I was growing up,” she said, per The Guardian. “Watching her fashion, just always changing. Her outfits were always amazing.”
Williams also talked about the process in developing the asymmetrical activewear with Nike. “This year we thought of what can we do to keep elevating the Serena Williams on the court. The Nike team actually thought of this design of inspiration from Flo-Jo. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is so brilliant,’” she said. “That’s where we started. Obviously we made some changes and tweaks to it. It became this.”
Tweaks included the addition of a biker short-length leg, in comparison to the bikini cut that Flo-Jo often opted for.
The late runner became a pop culture icon when she won three gold medals and set a new world record in the 100-meter sprint during the 1988 Olympics, often competing in style with bold colors, contemporary prints, acrylic nails, and even lipstick. She retired from athletics in 1989 and passed away in 1998 after suffering an epileptic seizure in her sleep.
Beyoncé has also honored Flo-Jo, by previously dressing up as the runner for Halloween in 2018.
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