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Arguably the worldwide sporting event of the year, the Olympics are fast approaching and, if you’re anything like us, you’re eagerly anticipating it! Of course, as much as we love the sporting events, we must admit that we also love to look out for the eyewear that our favourite Olympians might be wearing.

Some people may be surprised to even see them wearing them in the first place, as they think glasses would impact their performance or at least not be allowed in such a professional sporting environment, but they are actually more common than you may first think.

Keep reading as we discuss this and more, including a look at some of our favourite Olympian-inspired glasses!

Why Do Olympians Wear Glasses?

Sports players are renowned for their discipline, commitment and perseverance. Part of this includes caring for their body extensively; in order to perform at their best, athletes must take incredible care to look after their body - not just to perform at optimal health, but optimal safety, too.

Typically, this involves a lot of physiotherapy and training to avoid injury, however looking after their bodies can manifest itself in other ways, also, such as protecting their eyes.

Whether it’s from wind, the sun or debris, there are various factors across various sports that may cause potential danger to an athlete’s eye-health. By protecting their eyes, they’re ensuring that A, their performance isn’t affected and B, that they are staying in peak physical condition.

Typical Sports to See Specs Being Worn

Now that you have a better understanding of why many Olympians compete whilst wearing glasses, let’s take a look at some of the sports you’d typically see them being worn during.


If you’re a fan of cycling, then you’ll have likely noticed that Olympic cyclists wear sunglasses both inside and outside.

When outside, sunglasses are essential for protecting their eyes from various elements. Firstly, they allow riders to maintain vision in bright conditions; when it comes to outdoor sports, the weather is one of the only things that cannot be controlled, so the sun shining down can easily reflect off the road and make it harder for cyclists to see.

Sunglasses ensure that cyclists can still see without being blinded and going off track or having to slow down. They also protect their eyes from wind and from debris that may be kicked up off the road from the wheels of other cyclists.

As for indoor cyclists, you may wonder why their eyes are covered when going round the velodrome. This is because they’re cycling at such speeds that generate a flow of wind, which they then need to protect their eyes from. Technically, track cyclists aren’t actually wearing sunglasses, however they do have shield-style visors built into their helmets.

This shield design is not only protective, but also helps with aerodynamics thanks to their slick, wrap-around design.


Many rowers also often wear sunglasses when competing. Water can often splash up during rowing, so they tend to wear hydrophobic glasses, which allow any water droplets to bead up and roll off the lens, rather than blurring a rower’s vision. Rowers also compete in various weather - rain or shine - so sunglasses can actually help keep droplets out of their eyes in rainy weather, allowing them to stay focused on the task at hand.

Similarly, they often wear sunglasses with polarised lenses, which help to reduce glare - something that is very common when rowing due to the sun reflecting off the surface of the water.

Alongside this, they simply offer general UV protection, which is important for everyone - athletes or not.

Beach Volleyball

If you love the sun, the sand and the sea, then beach volleyball may be one of the sports on your watchlist at the Olympics this year - the athletes certainly look the part, donning athletic beach attire and sunnies.

They don't, however, simply wear sunglasses for style. Rather, they actually play a crucial role in optimising performance.

Firstly, volleyball requires players to constantly be looking up in order to keep an eye on the ball as it’s coming over the net. Naturally, this means looking up to where the sun is also shining down, which can damage their vision over time if they don’t protect their eyes. Not only that, but its brightness can impact their vision and ultimately cause them to make mistakes during the game.

Not only do players jump up to hit the ball, but sometimes they will also dive down to save it from hitting the sand. Of course, when doing this, sand will get kicked up around them and will be very close to their face.

Sand particles are very fine, but also highly abrasive. Because of this, getting sand particles in your eyes can feel extremely irritating, not to mention they can scratch the cornea and cause eye damage. Wearing sunglasses, then, is crucial for offering a barrier that protects the eyes against any sand particles getting in them.


Various athletes that compete in sports under the athletics category also wear eyewear when competing, and not just for style or simply protecting their eyes from the sun.

For example, sunglasses play a key role for marathon runners. If the sun is causing you to squint when running, then this will cause tension in the muscles in the face and neck. Such tension can put unnecessary strain on the muscles and actually alter your posture.

Wearing sunglasses plays a big part in maintaining an overall more comfortable posture for running. Not only that, but being more relaxed can also help make breathing easier to control, which in turn helps to reduce fatigue and improve overall performance. And that’s why you’ll see some long-distance Olympic runners wear sunglasses.

Our favourite Olympians’ Styles

Ato Boldon

Arguably the most memorable pair of glasses worn by an Olympian of all time are track and field athlete, Ato Boldon’s, ‘OVERTHETOP’ (as they’re fittingly called) glasses by Oakley.

Boldon famously wore these frames at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, where he ended up winning silver for the Men’s 100M race.

Offering an incredibly futuristic and dystopian look, these are, of course, an incredibly unique pair of frames. If you aren’t feeling up to wearing frames over your head, but are still feeling inspired by the aesthetic of Boldon’s Oakley glasses, then we have some equally bold ones in mind that we believe may take your fancy.

These bold, pink Carrera Sunjet frames, for example, are ideal for anyone looking to make a statement. With thick-rimmed frames and a futuristic design, they’re sure to leave an impression.

Jenny Meadows

British 800M runner, Jenny Meadows, was well known for wearing her signature tinted rectangle frames whilst competing. Our personal favourites are her pink frames with red tinted lenses.

If rectangular frames aren’t for you, but you still feel inspired by Meadows’ style, then we think you’d love these tinted Cazal sunglasses. Just like our favourite pair, these feature hints of both pink and red, with pink tinted lenses and red detailing on the frame, which itself is gold - a subtle nod to that sweet medal everyone strives to win.

A pair of genuine, saved vintage frames originally produced in the 80s, these are perfect to wear whilst watching a summer of sports.

Usain Bolt

Now, we can’t talk about Olympians without talking about Usain Bolt! Whilst he was scarcely seen wearing frames on the track, we have seen him rocking stylish sunnies off the track.

It seems he’s particularly partial to a pair of wayfarer frames, in particular. If you like to keep it simple and sleek, like Bolt, then why not consider this pair of Alfa wayfarer frames? Complete with a mirror lens finish, you, too, can look as stylish as this sporting legend.

Simone Biles

Arguably the currently most famous gymnast in the world (and with good reason!) Simone Biles is unsurprisingly not seen wearing glasses as she’s tumbling across the floor during her routines. But, that doesn’t stop her from keeping it cool outside of competing.

We’ve seen her snap some pics whilst wearing a stunning pair of emphasised, angular butterfly frames and we just can’t get enough of them. This style, popularised over 50 years ago, has seen a modern resurgence - but why not take it a step further to stand out from the crowd and wear a genuine article from the ‘80s?

These vintage Silhouette butterfly frames are just as striking as those worn by Biles, with a sophisticated yet angular frame and monochrome design, elevated by the addition of modern maroon gradient UV lenses.

Original Online Eyewear Ready for the Olympics

So, are you ready to watch the Olympics in style? Why not kill two birds with one stone and help save the planet whilst you do? Here at Ed & Sarna Vintage Eyewear, we supply a vast range of one of a kind, genuine vintage artefacts - as unique as the Olympians you celebrate.

Not only will you be saving a never-worn pair of glasses from otherwise being wasted, but we guarantee that you’ll find unique frames that you won’t see anyone else wearing. If the Olympics won’t be the talk of the summer - your style certainly will be!

Be sure to shop our exclusive Olympics Collection today. To sweeten the deal, we’re even offering you a special discount to commemorate the festivities - use code OLYMPIC24 for a winning 24% off your order.

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