The art of tattooing has been around as far back as the 10th millennium BC. Originally a practice of the East, thanks to sailors and their expeditions, particularly throughout Polynesia, European seamen started to engage in the practice of also tattooing their bodies. Although still taboo in some circles, tattooing has become more and more mainstream and an accepted form of body modification. In fact, they seem to be more often than not.
If you’ve been watching the Olympics in London, you’ve probably noticed the mass amounts of Olympians, from all countries, sporting a wide array of tattoos. Although many of them have chosen to be inked in the Olympic rings, some have way more elaborate and intense tattoos that you just can’t help but stare at and admire — or loathe, depending on your opinion of tattoos.
While some tattoos have meaning, and others are just designs or images that people just happen to love, it’s safe to assume that when it comes to those Olympic rings that so many of the Olympians have, there’s definitely a deep meaning for them. Ryan Lochte‘s gator tattoo is an example of a meaningful tattoo. Not only did his family move to Florida when he was a kid where he started swimming, but he also went to the University of Florida. The Greek writing above the alligator translates to “first” in English. At the rate things are going for Lochte, he’s living up to the art on his back.
Here as some other great tattoos we’ve been seeing at the 2012 Olympics.
Photo: Christian Witkin